WASHINGTON -- The key to slowing down Nationals rookie Stephen Strasburg seemingly came two days too late for Pirates manager John Russell. If the Bucs headman could've known on Tuesday, if he could've known the simple solution for shutting down the highly touted hurler, the team's 5-2 defeat might have ended differently.
STEPHEN STRASBURG'S TOP TEN LIST
Here are the Top Ten "Little Known Facts about Stephen Strasburg," as read by Strasburg on "The Late Show with David Letterman" on June 10.
10. "To keep my focus on pitching, I sleep on a mound of dirt."
9. "Every morning I spread Icy Hot on my toast."
8. "Got three of my 14 strikeouts while Twittering."
7. "To celebrate my first big league win, I bought a hot tub time machine."
6. "I wasn't really good until I got bitten by that radioactive spider."
5. "Dumb guys think I directed 'E.T.'"
4. "I also scored the winning goal for the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals."
3. "I blew my signing bonus on laser back hair removal."
2. "Don't even try to talk to me before a start or while I'm watching "Glee."
1. "If I would have known I'd be on Letterman, I wouldn't have pitched so well."
Courtesy Worldwide Pants Incorporated
Strasburg appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman on Thursday night and let the whole world in on a little secret: If the 21-year-old had known that he'd be appearing on Letterman's show, he wouldn't have pitched so well in his Major League debut against the Pirates.
No need to have Jay Leno call Strasburg for an appearance before his Sunday start, Indians fans. The revealing statement was in jest, as the right-hander announced Letterman's Top Ten Little Known Facts about Stephen Strasburg.
The short segment began with Letterman saying that Strasburg was "baseball's new original baseball phenom" before joking "that the only way you can see this curveball is if you have seats in the parking lot.
"I spent seven years of my life in the Dominican Republic as a scout," Letterman added, "so I know what I'm talking about."
The late show host then cued in Strasburg, who was standing in Nationals Park. The rookie gave a wave and a slight grin before delving into his personal Top Ten list.
Letterman certainly seemed impressed while he read through Strasburg's Tuesday pitching line, in which the right-hander surrendered just two runs while completing seven innings. And that's even before mentioning that Strasburg fanned 14 Pirates and conceded no walks.
The strikeout mark set a new club record and was just one less than the all-time record for a Major League debut, set by Karl Spooner in 1954 and J.R. Richard in 1971, who each struck out 15 batters.
Letterman wisely took notice of Strasburg's early dominance.
"People are saying he's the best Major League pitcher they've seen in baseball. So how about that?" Letterman rhetorically asked.
Chris Hempson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.