Bill Ladson

After rocky start, Strasburg gets on track

Right-hander shows resilience following two-run first inning

After rocky start, Strasburg gets on track

SAN FRANCISCO -- Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg wasn't as dominant as he was on Saturday against Rockies, but pitched well enough during a 3-1 loss to the Giants on Thursday night.

Strasburg ran into trouble in the first inning. After he was given a 1-0 lead by a Yunel Escboar leadoff homer in the first, Strasburg allowed two runs in the bottom of the frame and acknowledged that he wasn't comfortable on the mound. After the rocky start, Strasburg tossed five shutout frames.

"I tried to battle through the first inning and keep it close," Strasburg said. "The mechanics started to sink in a little bit. I started to mix the pitches more. Obviously, they were swinging first pitch a lot in that [first] inning. I wanted to keep establishing the fastball and get that going because everything needed to fall into place. I just made some mistakes."

Teammate Ian Desmond noticed Strasburg is becoming more of a thinker on the mound. After allowing a leadoff triple to Kelby Tomlinson in the second inning, it appeared Strasburg was going into the windup, but changed his mind and went into the stretch as he prevented the Giants from scoring.

"That's something he wouldn't have done two or three years ago," Desmond said about Strasburg. "He is starting to have a game plan. He is really into it."

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