Stephen Strasburg-mania didn’t quite grip the country Tuesday night like it did during his first career start, but his pitching performance was once again impressive: He retired 15 of 17 batters, permitted just two hits and struck out four.
Strasburg, who turned 23 in July, was incredibly efficient, throwing just 56 pitches (40 for strikes) in five scoreless innings. His counterpart, Ted Lilly, threw 107 pitches in five innings. But as soon as Strasburg departed, the bullpen blew a 3-0 lead and the Dodgers won, 7-3. The score is meaningless though since the Nationals aren’t in postseason contention.
ESPN’s Jerry Cransick reports that Strasburg didn’t hit 100 on the gun, but his fastball was consistently in the upper 90s, and he did touch 99.
Baseball has labored through a sluggish August with nary a pennant race. You can’t even find a battle for a Wild Card. Perhaps the Rangers will collapse and let the Angels (3.5 games back) make it interesting, or maybe the Giants’ bats wake up and the defending champs sneak past Arizona (lead by 6 games).
But right now – with apologies to Justin Verlander – Stephen Strasburg’s starts are the most exciting thing in baseball.