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Stephen Strasburg 3.5.09

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It took me a while to find the stadium but thankfully I made it in time for the National Anthem. USD, for some reason, had a bunch of relievers going the entire game. No one went more than 2 IP. Denault, the starter for USD, threw some wicked breaking balls (side arm) and held SDSU in check in the first. I thought he was pretty impressive but he didn't last too long.

 

Strasburg looked intimidating on the mound. He was tall but not scrawny and looked like his entire body was coming at you as he pitched. Strasburg works VERY quickly. I mean VERY quickly. He looked like he was having trouble warming up as his first two warm up pitches missed the plate by about 4 feet and reached the backstop. He settled down and retired the first 3 batters rather easily by recording 2 Ks and most importantly, hitting 101 MPH, his top speed for the outing (I was sitting next to the gun dude).

The next inning, he gave up a long double and a single immediately following it. It looked as if he was frustrated with himself and he showed it as he walked the next batter. USD's coach kept trying to slow him down and advised his hitters to do the same.

Third inning was key for USD, getting their last run on a HR by their catcher, McCoy. Stras was clearly not happy and settled down after this. If I recall correctly, he retired every batter and recorded at least 2 Ks each IP for the rest of the outing.

The gun hit 95+ for every fastball he threw, reaching 100 a few times. However, I was more impressed with his breaking ball. He was throwing a 80-84 MPH slider that even fooled the umpire multiple times. He had excellent command of the pitch and it seemed like every slider wound up on the same spot. USD hitters were sitting on his fastball and had zero chance to hit the slider.

The most impressive thing was how he worked McCoy, who hit a HR off him in his previous AB. He threw him nothing but sliders, basically saying "go ahead and sit on my fastball". I got a good chuckle as McCoy didn't even lift the bat off his shoulder and K'd looking.

Stras got stronger as the game went on. Working quickly and making it look easy. I don't think each subsequent inning he pitched lasted more than 10 minutes. Hopefully he can keep his head on his shoulders and stay healthy because he looks like he could be the real deal.

Side note: I saw a glimpse of tony Gwynn as he walked through the dugout. He is big and you can't miss him but he kept in the shadows the entire game. :-D

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