After cruising through his first two rehab starts, Stephen Strasburg hit some bumpy road on Wednesday night. In 1 2/3 innings with the Hagerstown Suns, he gave up four hits, walked two and allowed three earned runs.
A bad outing from Strasburg, while a little unnerving, isn’t necessarily something to panic about. Every pitcher has a tough day and in this case Strasburg seems to be OK with that.
”Sometimes it’s good to have games like this,” Strasburg said in his post-game interview. “You need to kind of get knocked around a little bit to (find) things to work on. It’s just another step in the road. It can only get better from here.”
The good news about it is that Strasburg can pinpoint what went wrong, and knows what he needs to do to fix that.
"My breaking ball command isn't where it was," Strasburg said. "They say it is the last thing to come [back]. I am just waiting for it to come back. It felt like it was back in Potomac but it kind of went backwards today.
"My arm works differently [after surgery]," he explained. "It is a lot more efficient. I used to kind of lead with the elbow and I come out and separate. That wasn't something I was trying to go out and do every time, it was just that fact that I was weak. I don't do that anymore, so that is a good thing."
As far as what’s next, Strasburg is going to continue with his five-day pitching schedule, which would have him pitching Monday. Hagerstown is the closest affiliate with a home game, so it’s likely he’ll be back on the mound with the Suns.
As far as his first appearance at Nats Park, despite speculation and rumors, the team has yet to confirm a date for that. The team has said he could see as many as three more minor league starts.
When we do finally see Strasburg in a Nats uniform, the pitching phenom would like us to keep our excitement in check. A little perspective, if you will.
“It’s not like I’m going to win a Cy Young in two weeks pitching in the big leagues,” he said. “I’m just trying to get better, just trying to get stronger, just trying to get back the feeling that I had before and take that into the off season.”