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Saturday, June 09, 2012

WaPo: Harper, Strasburg stand out in their Fenway Park debuts

BOSTON — A century’s worth of players have passed through Fenway Park, where history seeps through the emerald walls. Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper graced the cathedral for the first time on Friday night, and they did not dissolve into its annals. They made them richer, more complete: The old yard can say it bore witness to Strasburg and Harper at their unbridled beginning, the moment in time when the Washington Nationals became something fresh and different.

Two of the most arresting players in baseball spearheaded the Nationals’ assault on the Boston Red Sox in a 7-4 victory. Harper, the 19-year-old without an off switch, went 3 for 5 with a double, three RBI and a 420-foot, two-run home run. Strasburg, pitching on the two-year anniversary of his masterful debut, threw his first 100-mph fastball of the season, struck out 13 over six innings of four-hit ball and escaped a bases-loaded jam by throwing a 3-2 fastball with his 119th and final pitch. [...]

Before the game, Harper chatted with David Ortiz, the slugger who blew him a kiss at last year’s All-Star Game. On the base paths, Dustin Pedroia told him, “Great job.” A fan sitting on top of the Green Monster yelled Harper’s name until he waved back. Harper absorbed everything, and then he grabbed the game by the throat. [...]

In total, Strasburg would induce 20 swing-and-misses, a new career high. He “kind of had a little bit of a breakthrough” with his breaking ball, he said, from a fascinating source. Strasburg wanted to make an adjustment with the pitch. He sought advice from Rick Ankiel, the outfielder who once was the hottest pitching prospect in baseball, before he lost the ability to throw a strike.

“I watched him growing up,” Strasburg said. “He had one of the best curveballs in the game, and he knew how to throw it and he knew how to use it to his advantage.”

Who knew that when Rick Ankiel finally made another pitching contribution to a Major League baseball team that this is how he would do it?

Esoteric Posted: June 09, 2012 at 01:17 PM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: boston, washington

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   1. Bourbon Samurai Posted: June 09, 2012 at 02:42 PM (#4152430)
Hell yeah they did! It was even on tv in singapore!
   2. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: June 09, 2012 at 03:30 PM (#4152479)
God I miss Ankiel's curveball.

Career vs. Barry Bonds: three PA, three Ks.
   3. Srul Itza Posted: June 09, 2012 at 03:57 PM (#4152513)
Hey, maybe Ankiel could be the first combined hitting coach-pitching coach for a team.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: June 09, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4152557)
He sought advice from Rick Ankiel, the outfielder who once was the hottest pitching prospect in baseball, before he lost the ability to throw a strike.

“I watched him growing up,” Strasburg said

Get me Universal Studios on line 2!!
   5. bookbook Posted: June 09, 2012 at 06:44 PM (#4152637)
When Strasburg's snagging flies in cf, we'll know why.
   6. zack Posted: June 09, 2012 at 09:49 PM (#4152701)
Well he is batting .350/.381/.650 with 3 doubles and a home run this year...

Actually the Nats staff as a whole has a .532 OPS. To give you an idea, that's a 33 wRC+. Next highest is the Phillies at .380/3.
   7. DanO Posted: June 09, 2012 at 10:12 PM (#4152708)
"Tthey did not dissolve into its annals" is really unfortunate phrasing.
   8. Dan Posted: June 09, 2012 at 10:22 PM (#4152710)
They're not available in suppository form yet.

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