The Closer: Grab some pine

Stephen Strasburg - much hyped prior to throwing a pitch in the big leagues - has gotten off to quite a start this season. Strasburg rang up 10 more strikeouts Friday in a no-decision, giving him a total of 32 since he was called up. It's the most strikeouts ANY pitcher has had in his first 3 games dating back to 1900. The old record was 29 by J.R. Richard. We break down how the phenom is getting it done in this edition of The Closer.

Strasburg regained his control after issuing five walks last Sunday as he went to a 3-ball count to just two hitters. The main difference in Strasburg’s approach was the increased use of his changeup, especially with two strikes. Strasburg struck out 6 batters with his changeup Friday after getting just a total of 3 with the pitch in his first two starts.

Nine of Strasburg's 10 strikeouts came on offspeed pitches. This was the fifth start this season in which a pitcher had double digit K's with at least 60% on the changeup and at least 90% on off-speed pitches. The others to accomplish the feat were Ricky Romero, James Shields, Tim Lincecum and Dallas Braden.

Since Stephen Strasburg made his MLB debut on June 8, the Nationals starting pitchers are 3-5. Strasburg has 2 of the wins. His numbers dwarf what the rest of the starters have done in that span. The rookie is 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA and 22 strikeouts. The rest of the Nationals rotation has a 1-5 record with a 7.92 ERA and just 14 strikeouts total.