For the third consecutive season, stud right-hander Stephen Strasburg will be the first member of the Washington Nationals to throw a pitch on Opening Day.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 20, 2014
News that new Nationals manager Matt Williams has tabbed Strasburg as his Opening Day starter isn’t exactly jarring, but at the same time, it likely wasn’t the runaway decision that you may have expected. The now 25-year-old Strasburg finished 4th on the Nationals in wins (8-9 record) and 3rd on the team in innings (183 in 30 starts) last season, and while he easily led the team in ERA (3.00), Williams was quoted as saying that he gave real consideration to fellow right-hander Jordan Zimmermann.
Still, there is little doubt in the minds of baseball experts that Strasburg presents the most dominant array of pitching offerings on the Washington staff, and if he can put things together this season, he can be a legitimate Cy Young contender, even in a league that includes Clayton Kershaw. Much fuss will be made about Strasburg’s 8-9 win-loss record from 2013, but even if he pitches in exactly the same fashion, he’ll be worth the price of admission in 2014.