Through two innings, Stephen Strasburg is - and I’m going to use a technical term here - sick nasty.
He’s struck out four batters in two innings, three of them in the second. He hit 100 mph on an inside fastball to Delwyn Young - it’s the first time I’ve seen him do that in the four times I’ve seen him pitch - and even though it was a ball, the crowd roared at the elusive third digit on the scoreboard. Then, he embarrassed Young with an 83-mph slider for strike three.
The biggest ovation might have come on his first strikeout, where he victimized Pirates left fielder (and enigmatic former Nat) Lastings Milledge. Strasburg has allowed one hit, and still needs to throw more strikes, but he’s looked electric, and Nationals Park is loving every second of it.
This is the loudest I’ve ever heard the ballpark in my three years of covering the team -- the only thing that might come close is Ryan Zimmerman’s walk-off on Opening Night. But fans are standing on every two-strike pitch, murmuring excitedly at his slider and roaring with each strikeout.
Speaking of Zimmerman - who is never one to miss a moment - he put the Nationals up 1-0 in the first inning with a homer to right center, blasting an 0-1 pitch from Jeff Karstens just over the wall. That’s the score as we head into the third, where Strasburg will lead off.
On a perfect night at Nationals Park, it’s tough to imagine the euphoria running any higher in here.