On the Strasburg Train

June 14, 2010

Alright, I’m finally on the Strasburg thing. I held out as long as I could. I listened to the hype on the radio, read it in the papers, and thought it was all a bit much…until I saw him throw yesterday. Impressive. Velocity up the ying yang, but more importantly, movement and the ability to locate. With three different pitches no less! Plus he’s not a max effort guy.

He kind of reminds me of Greg Maddux except with way better stuff. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, from the stretch, the guy is a very quick 1.1 to the plate. Oh man, this guys a catcher’s dream.

Speaking of catchers, Strasburg didn’t have the best of outings yesterday and I hate to do it, but I hold Pudge Rodriguez partially responsible. Maybe more than partially. Here’s the deal…obviously Strasburg is on a strict pitch limit diet. Once the clock strikes 100 pitches, the guy’s done. I’m pretty sure the Nationals are committed to that above anything else.

So economy of pitches is super important. Geez, it should be about the most important thing regardless of the pitcher and his pitch count diet. The point is, I think Pudge got a little too tricky with his game calling yesterday and it cost Strasburg. Three and two change ups…with that fastball? Against the Indians? Really Pudge?

I understand that there’s a honeymoon period where Rodriguez needs to figure out exactly what Strasburg is capable of. As a catcher, you’ve got to find out if a guy can throw his off speed stuff when he’s behind in the count…or early in the count for strikes. Got it. But geez, it just seemed like Pudge got drunk with power yesterday. It looked like he was riding a horse with all these options and just got overwhelmed.

Now let’s assume that Strasburg, because he never got a chance to call his own game in college, doesn’t have an expert idea on how to attack hitters. The fact is, it doesn’t really matter anyway, because he sure a hell isn’t gonna be shaking off a Hall of Famer too much.

Pudge is in a very powerful situation and needs to be careful. He’s got the keys and his foot on the gas peddle of this super fast muscle car. So, the backseat driver in me wants Ivan to take it easy. Keep it simple. Since this horse can locate a 100 mph heater (with movement) let’s go ahead and ride that pitch a bit more. It’s the same ol story. Use the fastball till someone proves they can hit it.

Yes, Mongo Hafner got into a down and in heater and launched it down the line. Big deal. I still say pitch to contact. Even though Strasburg has the ability to strike out the side every inning, I’ll still take three ground outs on five pitches over three strike outs and fifteen pitches all day long. Let’s see the kid throw a 90 pitch complete game. The fact is, the guys gonna roll out of bed into double digit strikeouts regardless.

So that’s all I’ve got. Strasburg is for real. And Pudge, I love ya, but you know how they say “drink responsibly” ? Well, in this situation I advise (not that you should care) to “call the game responsibly.”

3 Responses to “On the Strasburg Train”

  1. Matt Shafer says:

    I have to agree with you Brent. I don’t think Ivan Rodriquez’s strength is calling a game? In fact I would have given him a D+ for that performanace. As for Strasburg he is legit. As a hitter you can guess right and still look like a fool with his stuff.

  2. Randy Tigert says:

    If I’m not mistaken… wasn’t Pudge with the Yankees in ‘08 and I seem to remember that most of the pitchers were happier throwin’ to Molina than they were Rodgriguez. Posada was on the DL or something and guys like Petit REFUSED to throw to Ivan for the very reason you guys are talking about. They didn’t like the way he called games at all and those are some serious veterans.

  3. Brent Mayne says:

    Not sure guys…I certainly don’t wanna bash Ivan. He’s good with me. We all might’ve gone a bit crazy with that kind of horse on the mound. Kind of reminds me of the time David Cone let me race his super duper Porsche around the parking lot of Kauffman stadium. I went out of my brain with all that power…went faster than I’d ever gone in a car, skidded corners, generally spazzed out and brought the thing back smoking. There was just nothing else I could’ve done. I had to do it.

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