MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Changeup command fuels Strasburg's dominant outing

Changeup command fuels Strasburg's dominant outing

WASHINGTON -- Stephen Strasburg was the antithesis on Sunday of what he was his last time out against the Red Sox. He was solid for 7 1/3 innings, allowed one run on five hits and struck out seven in the Nationals' 4-1 victory over the Phillies.

Strasburg had a perfect game going until the fifth inning, when Carlos Ruiz singled to left field with two outs. Strasburg ended up throwing 95 pitches, and if he hadn't of given up the run in the eighth, manager Matt Williams said the right-hander could have completed the game.

"That may be as good as I've seen him," Williams said. "He pitched at 92, 93 [miles per hour] and was able to reach back when he needed it for 95-plus. For me, that makes his changeup even more effective. Today, he threw for strikes when he wanted to, went out of the zone when he needed to. I don't know if I've seen him better than that."

Shortstop Ian Desmond agreed with Williams' assessment of Strasburg's performance.

"That's one of the better times I've seen him perform. He had all of his pitches, but he had the curveball on both sides of the plate. They were bouncing when he needed it. He was really sharp today," Desmond said.

Strasburg said his changeup was the reason for his solid outing against Philadelphia.

"The command of my changeup and the feel for my changeup was much better," he said. "You work on things and you try to remember what the keys are -- what are you trying to do with the pitch, where you want to execute it. You try to paint that picture in your head. You go out there and let it go."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.