05/13/09 2:00 AM ET
Scout breaks down Strasburg's no-hitter
Baseball expert gives fans inside look at pitching gem
By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com
Facing Air Force, Strasburg allowed just two walks while striking out 17. Only one runner got into scoring position all night and Strasburg finished the Falcons off by striking out the side in the ninth.
Although radar readings didn't hit the triple digits people love to hear about, he was consistently 95-98 mph throughout his start and his power breaking ball stayed around the 81-85 mph range.
As Strasburg has become accustomed to, a number of scouts were in attendance. MLB.com compared notes with one of the scouts who witnessed the no-no, providing the information for this inning-by-inning report.
Strasburg has a very good pregame routine and prepares himself well. He stretched well and got to the mound in the bullpen, limiting the amount of pitches he needs to be ready to go. While he doesn't show his changeup often in games, he worked on it while getting ready, showing a very good feel for two different grips for a change in the bullpen.
1st inning: K looking, groundout 4-3, K looking
Strasburg was able to establish his fastball on both sides of the plate in the first inning. He showed a good downhill plane and was particularly effective to the extension side. He threw one fastball on the black at 98 mph, not exactly an easy feat. The breaking ball was a power curve. Some call it a slider, but it wasn't hard enough compared to his fastball to be labeled as such. He's got a nice delivery, with good direction to the plate. His head is quiet, which is conducive for throwing strikes.
2nd inning: K swinging, K swinging, K swinging
His fastball velocity was still a plus, though he elevated the ball a little more than you'd like to see. He gets swings and misses on it in college, but Major League hitters will lay off of it if it's out of the strike zone or they'll hit it if it stays up in the zone. He's going to have to learn to pitch down in the zone more. He used the breaking ball somewhat effectively, but will have to establish throwing it for strikes more consistently early.
3rd inning: K swinging, K swinging, out C to 1B, groundout 4-3
In this inning, Strasburg had a little more difficulty throwing his breaking ball for a strike, with the umpire either squeezing him or just not seeing the angle well to call it a strike. It was still a nasty pitch, but Strasburg backed off of it some in order to get it in the umpire's strike zone, changing his angle and his velocity. The good thing is it showed some aptitude in being able to adjust to his surroundings, though if he takes too much off at the next level, it won't be as effective a pitch.
4th inning: BB, flyout to left, K swinging, caught stealing
The walk was the first baserunner of the night for Air Force and it shouldn't have happened because ball four was a strike. Strasburg showed emotions in a good way because he wanted the strikeout. He didn't let the walk, or the umpire's tight zone, effect his ability to pitch and then his catcher picked him up by throwing the runner out.
5th inning: K swinging, flyout to center, bunt groundout to first, unassisted
Strasburg's velocity dropped a little, to 94-95 mph. He showed even better command on both sides of the plate and wasn't overthrowing. He continued to try to throw his breaking ball for a strike and a lot of them looked good. It showed some ability to deal with adversity because he wasn't getting those calls.
6th inning: BB, K looking, K swinging, SB, K swinging
This walk was legitimate and Air Force actually had a runner in scoring position with two outs, but Strasburg reached out for the strikeout to end the inning. He responded well to the baserunners. One thing positive to note is that he holds runners very well. Any release time under 1.3 seconds is good and Strasburg was at one second and sometimes below from the stretch. He's also got a quick move to the plate, and he didn't sacrifice his stuff when out of the windup. A lot of times, amateurs who were dominant don't have experience holding runners and it takes them a long time to adjust. It looks like Strasburg already has a handle on this area of development.
7th inning: K looking, groundout P to 1B, K swinging
Strasburg was up to around 90 pitches and was still throwing 94-96 mph. His curve got better at this point and he was starting to get called strikes with it. He had both of his weapons back full-tilt, seemingly getting stronger.
8th inning: Groundout 6-3, line out to 1B, groundout 6-3
Strasburg got contact early in the count and got out of the inning very quickly. That way, he kept his pitch count down. At this point, he's smelling the complete game and the no-hitter, yet wasn't over-throwing or trying to strike everyone out. He maintained his composure.
9th inning: K swinging, K swinging, K looking
With the victory and the no-no within his sights, Strasburg was back up to 97-98 mph and the power breaking ball was nearly perfect. He dominated and it was impressive that his best stuff came in the ninth inning.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.