I had the splendid opportunity to watch San Diego State pitching pheenom Stephen Strasburg pitch last night. He was in my hometown of Santa Clara, starting against the Broncos. The weather was threatening; it had rained for much of the day, and the early innings were played under a slight drizzle, but the game was played in its entirety.
All I can say about the young right-hander is, “wow.” The way Steve Schott Stadium is configured, I (along with quite a few other fans, and reporters) was able to stand right next to the visitors’ bullpen and observe Strasburg’s complete pre-game warmup. It was really fun: for most of the warmup, he was of course just getting loose, and working with his pitching coach to get his breaking stuff going and so on. But finally for the last few pitches, the coach told him to just air it out with the fastball, and my goodness, can he pop that catchers’ mitt.
He’s a big kid, but somehow doesn’t seem quite as big as his 6-foot-4, 222-pound listing; he moves lightly. His motion is unremarkable save for a lazy little dangle of his front foot as he enters his stride.
The Broncos were entirely helpless against Strasburg. Impressive as his fastball is (he reached 100 on the radar gun on one pitch), I found his ability to change speeds even more impressive. The hitters would be geared up for the heater, understandably, and then he’d come in with an off-speed slider, and see ya later.
He worked eight shutout innings, surrendering three singles, two walks and one hit batsman, while striking out 12.