David S. Driver
"Providing my byline by your deadline"
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June 8, 2010
By David Driver
For the DesMoines Register
Used with permission
Washington, D.C. — Stephen Strasburg lived up to the hype.
“Without out a doubt he did,” said infielder Jeff Clement, a former Marshalltown star who is part of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and witnessed the heralded debut Tuesday night before being sent down to the minors.
Box score: Nationals 5, Pirates 2
Strasburg had 14 strikeouts with no walks in seven innings and got the win as Washington beat the Pirates 5-2 before a sellout crowd of 40,315 fans at Nationals Park. Strasburg fanned seven batters in a row at one point.
“It was impressive to see. The atmosphere was electric,” said Clement, who after the game was assigned to triple-A Indianapolis. “I had never seen anything like that for a rookie.”
Clement did not play for the Pirates on Tuesday. He was hitless in five at-bats Sunday and had one hit in 17 at-bats after getting three hits on May 27.
Clement had made 30 starts at first base and he was hitting .189 in 127 at-bats with five homers and nine RBIs.
It was a historic night for Strasburg, the No. 1 pick last year.
“Sounds like he had a good night,” Davenport native Spin Williams, the roving minor league pitching coordinator, said in a telephone interview after Strasburg was lifted.
Williams was about 30 miles south of Nationals Park in Woodbridge, Va., watching the Potomac Nationals of the Class A Carolina League. Williams has worked with Strasburg since the pitcher signed with the Nats in August out of San Diego State.
Norwalk’s Joel Hanrahan, a Pittsburgh reliever who was not used Tuesday, had a memorable Major League debut before he even got to the mound on July 28, 2007.
He arrived at the home of the Mets in New York during a day-night doubleheader after getting called up to the Nationals.
“The cab driver couldn’t get close to the stadium and I ended up getting a police escort,” said Hanrahan, 29.
Hanrahan joked that he helped the Nationals draft Strasburg No. 1 overall since Hanrahan was part of a 100-loss team with Washington in 2008.
Clement made his big league debut with Seattle at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 4, 2007.
"My situation was far different. I was a September call-up,” he said.
The season has gone better for Hanrahan, who struck out three of the six batters he faced on Monday against the Cubs.
He has struck out at least one batter in 12 of his last 13 games and has averaged 12.21 strikeouts per nine innings since he was traded to Pittsburgh. That is the best mark among relievers for those who have thrown at least 55 innings in that time.
“He has turned the corner,” Pirates pitching coach Joe Kerrigan said of Hanrahan. “He has been a reliable reliever.”
Kerrigan said Hanrahan’s fastball has been in the mid-90s. He is 2-1 with an ERA of 5.47 in 26 games.