Two starts in the Bigs and two victories for 21-year-old Stephen Strasburg! I'm not surprised are you?
One thing that does surprise me is the way that last year's Number One pick in the draft simply goes about his business and seems to be handling what most everyone sees as tremendous pressure to perform at the big league level.
It's almost as if Stephen is saying to himself, "Pressure! What pressure?" He has a job to do and that's exactly what he's doing. Fastball, Curve, Slider, Changeup, you name it - every one of those pitches he throws has "try to hit me" all over it.
Pittsburgh did manage 4 hits; Cleveland just 2. In the game Sunday against the Indians, had it not been for that landing area of the pitching mound, there's no doubt Strasburg could have worked his way into the seventh as he did against the Pirates. In watching the way he reacted to his mound problems, it was clear that landing area was giving him more problems than the Tribe's hitters.
Strasburg collected 14 K's against the Bucs, 8 more against the Indians - Not to shabby - 22 strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings of work.
But remove yourself from the numbers Strasburg has posted in his young major league career for just a moment. Concentrate instead on the makeup of this young guy. It's been some time since a pitcher has hit the big leagues with the focus Strasburg has shown. He's humble, talented, polite, and well-liked by his new teammates. They should like him - he's gonna win a lot of games for this ballclub.
If all goes according to plan, Nats Park should be packed again Friday night when the Chicago White Sox come to town for the first of three. Wouldn't you like to be Strasburg's agent and get a cut of the fan receipts when he pitches on the road? Cleveland had 10,000 more fans show up than their normal Sunday numbers would have shown.
Outside of Greivous Vasquez leading Maryland's run in the NCAA tournament and the Caps skating in the Stanley Cup finals, there hasn't been much to cheer about in this area. Stephen Strasburg has come along at the right time and boy have we embraced this kid. Not only that, but we've embraced a Nationals ballclub that's loaded with talented young players: Zimmerman, Storen, Desmond, Morse, Bernadina.
And what a difference a year makes. This time last season the Nats were 17-45 and 19 and 1/2 games out of first place. Take a look at the numbers now! See you at the park this weekend.