So much about
In fact, at casual glance one could be forgiven for thinking his outing against the White Sox was merely a replay of his scintillating debut on June 8 against the Pirates in which he struck out 14 and infused new life into his franchise and his sport. But, alas, this was a new night and thus there were a series of firsts for Strasburg and his growing legion of admirers (which on this night
The Nationals eventually did just that, tying the game 1-1 on
That confirmation didn't come as much from his stellar pitching line --- seven innings, four hits, no walks and 10 strikeouts --- as it did from the way he achieved it. His fastball still had plenty of life, but it lacked the intimidating velocity he had shown during his starts against the Pirates and Indians. Only twice did Strasburg's famous fastball reach triple digits, after he did so 12 times in his first two games. Still, during one stretch he retired 15 consecutive batters and did so by utilizing his fastball, curve and changeup with equal aplomb. Along the way, he looked as poised and in command as a 21-year-old making his third big league start can possibly look.
Perhaps most important to the Nationals brass that is already watching Strasburg with the overbearing attentiveness of parents looking after a newborn, he did all of it without breaking much of a sweat. After he burned through 95 pitches against the Indians on Sunday without making it out of the sixth inning, Strasburg was more economical with his pitches on Friday, needing just 85 of them to pitch seven full innings.
Just as impressive was that he did so without having to sacrifice strikeouts. There had been talk during the week that the Nationals might prefer it if the man in whom they are staking much of their future sacrificed K's for less glamorous but equally productive things like groundballs. On Friday, he got both. In the third inning, he got three outs with just 10 pitches, in the fourth, he needed just eight pitches to retire the side in order and in the fifth, just 10 again. And, oh yes, six of those nine outs came via the strikeout.
From the start, Strasburg was around the plate with each of his pitches and started 15 of 24 batters with strikes. His aggressiveness was on display early. After
At some point, Strasburg will face real adversity, and may even -- horrors! -- lose a game. At the very least, he won't always have sportswriters reaching for their thesauruses to find new ways to describe his brilliance. Friday night was not as goose-bump inducing as his outing against the Pirates. It may not have been a night that evoked comparisons to the greats of the game's past, from