Despite a long list of accomplishments, Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg had never pitched a shutout in the Major Leagues through his first 67 starts. That changed on Sunday afternoon with a dominant performance.
Strasburg struck out 10 members of the Philadelphia Phillies, and rode his historically dominant pitching arsenal to a 4-hit shutout. He was virtually unhittable throughout the entirety of his 99-pitch outing (qualifying him for the “Maddux” in the words of Grantland’s Jonah Keri), and only walked 1 batter to go along with the high strikeout production.
While it may not have been the “best” start of Strasburg’s young, promising career, it was certainly near the top of the list. The Nationals are in a tailspin this season, as they currently stand with a 57-60 record despite 100-win preseason projections, but Strasburg has mostly lived up to the billing.
He has a lowly win-loss record of just 6-9 on the season, but that is extremely misleading. After Sunday’s game, Strasburg now has a 2.83 ERA on the year, and with his normally-high strikeout rate (9.41 K/9) coupled with his solid walk rate (2.64 BB/9), it is certainly not his fault that he has faltered in the win column.
As long as Strasburg pitches with this type of effectiveness, the Nationals will at least have a chance to win every 5th day. It has been a lost season in the nation’s capital, but they are still blessed with one of the best young arms in the game.