Nats strict with Strasburg's pitch count

Nats strict with Strasburg's pitch count

DETROIT -- Washington manager Jim Riggleman plans to keep a strict pitch count on Stephen Strasburg during his outing Friday at Nationals Park against the Chicago White Sox. Riggleman anticipates keeping Strasburg "in the 100 pitch count" range.

In most cases, pitch count is the best indication of the stress a pitcher might potentially feel, but he will also pay attention to how many innings Strasburg pitches. He was able to get through seven in 94 pitches in his Major League debut, which was made especially remarkable because he also had 14 strikeouts. But Strasburg has never gone more than seven innings as a professional and has rarely pitched into the seventh inning even in the Minors, Riggleman said.

"We're being very cautious with him. There's no sense pushing him," Riggleman said.

Part of the challenge of being a power pitcher is that the more strikeouts you have, the more likely your pitch count is going to rise, Riggleman said. He said that Strasburg recognizes the importance of limiting pitch counts where possible, but that doesn't mean he is going to pitch to contact in an effort to get more ground balls.

"When you see double-digit strikeouts, you usually will also see well over 100 pitches," Riggleman said. "I think [Strasburg] is just trying to throw strikes. He wants to move on to the next hitter and the next inning. It's not about pitching to contact."