Everyone in the Nationals organization has eagerly awaited the arrival of Stephen Strasburg. On Tuesday night at Nationals Park he will take the mound for the first time as a major league pitcher.
The first big league batter he ever faces could very well be Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, a right-handed batter who is hitting .312.
Jim Riggleman will remind Strasburg that the mound is still the same distance from home plate, just like it was in the minor leagues. If Wil Nieves is catching, he’ll probably make a joke or say something to make the young pitcher crack a smile like he did in spring training when he told the kid, ‘Can you believe all these people came to see ME today?’.
If future Hall of Famer Pudge Rodriguez is back there, he will no doubt be a calming presence. He too will likely remind Strasburg not to change what made him successful in the minor leagues.
I asked veteran Livan Hernandez what advice he would give to the young rookie, and he told me he would just say “Don’t be nervous. it’s a regular game. Go on the mound and do your job, that’s it.
Livo, like the rest of his teammates, is eager to see what Strasburg can do. He described every pitch the kid throws as “100 percent nasty”. He also said Washington is his house, his team, and he belongs here. He needs to pitch the way he he knows and that’s the only way he will be good.
Ryan Zimmerman agreed that the players are excited to see Strasburg pitch. He told me it’ll be fun to witness what he can do in the big leagues (on Tuesday). He added that having him out there every five days and giving the Nats a good chance to win is going to be a lot of fun.
Meanwhile, Tuesday night will be fun. Ian Desmond put it best, saying there are endless possibilities with Stephen joining the team.
Let the Nationals’ new era begin.