So much for first game jitters.
In the much-anticipated arrival of pitcher Stephen Strasburg to the majors, the flame throwing right-hander gave fans a glimmer of hope in a 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
From the moment Strasburg took the rubber Tuesday evening, he was in control despite the home run given up to Delwyn Young.
In seven innings of work, Strasburg gave up four hits, struck out 14 (yikes!), and walked none. Not bad if you started him in a league that uses K/BB ratio as a category.
The 14 K's were third most for a starting pitcher in their major league debut.
Getting a chance to watch the game in it's entirety, there were a few things that stuck out:
4: Pitches that Strasburg had command of this evening. His 4-seamer, 2-seamer, change-up, and slurve (or slider-curve hybrid as he has been quoted naming it) were all lively and nearly untouchable. His 16 first pitch strikes out of 24 batters faced shows that.
7: Innings pitched. More than most probably expected to see. With about a 100 innings pitch limit (a total of 150-160 expected for the season including the minors) available for the rest of the season, it figured Strasburg would get roughly 15-20 starts.
If the Nationals manage to contend this season, that number could be an issue.
Over 30,000: Fans in attendance, a rarity since the opening of Nationals Park. The standing room only crowd gave the stadium an electric atmosphere, which it deserves. Great stadiums should not be so barren.
1,000: Plus fans that left after Strasburg was pulled. That is a crying shame. Your team was winning and playing well even after he was hooked. Enjoy the last two innings and support the whole team.
69: Percent, the strike percentage of Strasburg's 94 pitches. Not too shabby for a first ML start...or any.
Yes, this is a VERY small sample size of what may turn out to be an amazing career, but the hype of his first start was achieved and lapped.
As a fan of game-changing and organization-changing players, Stephen Strasburg could lead the charge as the Washington Nationals fight for respectability in what can be a very competitive National League East.
This small and disappointing club has earned the right to have young talent play for them, and those back-to-back 100 loss seasons may be paying off a lot sooner than some may have anticipated.