CINCINNATI -- Drafted first overall in the 2009 Draft by the Nationals was Stephen Strasburg, a surefire future ace out of San Diego State. In the 24th round, 722 picks later, the Athletics took Dan Straily.Strasburg got the big money and the quick rise to the Majors. Straily's journey came
CINCINNATI -- Drafted first overall in the 2009 Draft by the Nationals was Stephen Strasburg, a surefire future ace out of San Diego State. In the 24th round, 722 picks later, the Athletics took Dan Straily.
Strasburg got the big money and the quick rise to the Majors. Straily's journey came with ups and downs, a trade and a designation for assignment. He wasn't even a starter on Opening Day.
But in Saturday's 6-3 win by the Reds, it was Straily who outdueled Strasburg.
"Coming into today, it was cool just to pitch against a guy that was so highly touted at the time and obviously has earned that," Straily said.
Strasburg allowed three runs and recorded 10 strikeouts, but some sixth-inning trouble resulted in an early exit after 5 1/3 innings. Straily, on the other hand, completed seven innings allowing two runs on two hits.
"He was great," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He doesn't seem to back down to anybody. I like that guys that aren't necessarily established big league guys, of which we have several, are just going out there and accepting the challenge and just throwing the ball over the plate, competing in the strike zone. What an addition. Where would we be without the type of quality starts he's given us so far this year?"
Quality starts like the one Straily fired on Saturday have become the norm for the 27-year-old righty. Since becoming a starter on April 18, Straily has a 3.36 ERA, has fired quality starts in six of his 10 appearances and has gone seven innings in two of his last three.
"I debuted at 23-years old, had a good first season and just dealt with some stuff after that and then some struggles," Straily said. "I think that experience of learning how to pitch better and coming back with better stuff than I used to have has really helped me out a lot in terms of becoming a complete pitcher and not just a thrower like I used to be."
For Straily, this has been about making the most of an opportunity as it is anything else. After being designated for assignment just 48 hours after being acquired by the Padres, Straily knew he had something to prove and so far this year, he's shown he was worth the chance the Reds gave him.
"I believed in myself to be at this point but you have to come and earn it," Straily said. "I was just given an opportunity here a couple months ago that I've just really taken advantage of, I feel like, and just tried to do the best I can with that opportunity I've been given."
Cody Pace is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati.