Strasburg: Duel no big deal

April, 20, 2013
4/20/13
12:12
AM ET
Coming into Friday's pitcher's duel between Matt Harvey and Stephen Strasburg, the young sensations had a stark contrast in their excitement for that battle.

Harvey, the New York Mets' ace, had some extra adrenaline for the matchup. Strasburg, however, didn't get caught up in it all, viewing it as just another game.

[+] EnlargeStephen Strasburg
Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsStephen Strasburg pitched six innings and gave up two runs, but it wasn't enough to beat Matt Harvey and the Mets.
"It's funny, because you guys want to make a big deal out of all this, but every game is huge for me. I want to go out there and I want to help this team win," said Strasburg, the Washington Nationals' ace. "It doesn't matter who's facing us, we're all out there as a collective group to go out there and try to get the job done, and we weren't able to do that tonight."

In the first battle between the teams' young studs, Strasburg took the loss in round one as he gave up four runs in six innings in the Mets' 7-1 win Friday. Strasburg gave up only two earned runs, as two came off an error, but a pair of home runs in the sixth inning gave the Mets some breathing room.

"Not good enough. It's tough, want to go out there and feel great every time and it was kind of a struggle again," Strasburg said after dropping to 1-3. "It's still early, I have to keep battling and keep working hard, and I know it's going to come."

As Harvey came out and blew away Washington's hitters, Strasburg immediately fell behind 2-0. An error on leadoff hitter Jordany Valdespin's grounder resulted in a run, due to a wild pitch, and with the chance to keep it at 1-0, Strasburg served up a single to John Buck that made it 2-0.

Strasburg kept the score at 2-0 for the next four innings, but a pair of long balls in the sixth doubled the score. After previously striking out Ike Davis twice, Strasburg gave up a solo shot that made it 3-0. Two batters later, he surrendered another solo shot to Lucas Duda that made it 4-0.

Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Strasburg kept the team in the game but that missing spots and consistently falling behind hitters hurt him. Strasburg, who has lost three straight starts, said he has had been costing himself early in the game and hasn't been able to manage quick innings.

"You don't want to go out there and give up some runs early but I was happy I was able to battle and keep the team in the game as long as I could," Strasburg said. "They just put some good swings on balls in the sixth."

Although Harvey won the battle Friday night, Strasburg won the battle at the plate as he secured Washington's first hit with a double to right in the third. Strasburg complimented Harvey for his performance, as Harvey gave up just one run in seven innings while striking out seven.

"He's got good stuff. He's pounding the strike zone. It's still early obviously; a lot of our guys haven't really faced him much," Strasburg said. "That's going to be the big thing, us being able to make adjustments as the season goes on and going out there and getting it done."

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.295 9 55 76
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 28
RBIL. Duda 86
RD. Murphy 76
OPSL. Duda .832
WB. Colon 14
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.49
SOZ. Wheeler 180