1. Fastball, changeup, curve — doesn’t matter
Stephen Strasburg’s 14 strikeouts were the third-most in any debut and he only grew stronger as the night went on against the Pirates.
Last year’s No. 1 overall pick allowed two earned runs on four hits without a walk. He fanned all nine starters in Pittsburgh’s lineup, including the last seven batters he faced. He reached 100 mph on the gun.
2. Surely a rough call for Riggleman
Washington had a simple plan for last night — let the kid toss six innings or about 90 pitches. Strasburg was only at 81 through six.
Following back-to-back jacks by Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham in the bottom of the frame, manager Jim Riggleman decided to let him go out there for the seventh. It turned out to be the right move as Strasburg easily struck out the side in his final inning of work and the Nats went on to win, 5-2. The former San Diego State star threw 94 pitches and his 14 strikeouts are tied for the most in a game this season.
3 Baseball is saved in D.C. ... for now
The Nationals ranked 24th in home attendance entering last night with an average of about 21,000 fans.
Strasburg’s debut nearly doubled that, as 40,315 packed Nationals Park and didn’t leave disappointed. His presence figures to increase revenue and excitement for baseball in Washington, which hasn’t had a solid club since the ’60s. Expect standing-room only crowds on the road, too. His next start figures to come in Cleveland this weekend.
“I just wanted to go out there and say I’ve had my first outing in the big leagues,” Strasburg said. “I’ve had a great time.”