As I wrote about in Part 1, Stephen Strasburg made his MLB debut on the evening of June 8, 2010 in front of a sellout crowd at Nationals Park. He absolutely shut down the Pittsburgh Pirates. IN 7 INNINGS PITCHED, 14 OF THE 21 OUTS RECORDED WERE STRIKEOUTS! HE STRUCK OUT EVERY PLAYER IN THE PIRATES LINE-UP AT LEAST ONCE!
But about 2 months later, on August 22, the Nats played the Phillies. Strasburg threw a 1-1 change up to Domonic Brown. After that, Strasburg seemed hurt and shook his wrist. The trainer came out and manager Jim Riggleman came out. He was pulled from the game.
Stephen went to see the Nats’ team doctor Dr. Wiemi Douoguih, and Dr. Wiemi reported that Strasburg torn his ulnar collateral ligament. He would need Tommy John Surgery to repair it. That would mean the end of his season and he would have to sit out the next season too while he got better. On August 28, the Nationals held a press conference to announce that Strasburg needed the surgery. (On the bright side, Jordan Zimmermann was just coming back from his rehab following his Tommy John surgery).
The Nats were without Strasburg until September 5, 2011 when the Nats took on the L.A. Dodgers, an event that people call “Stras-mas.” Even though Nats fans were happy to have Strasburg back, he was the losing pitcher that night (7-3). GM and President of Baseball Operations (“POBO”) Mike Rizzo said, though, that he would put Stras would be limited on innings in 2012, like he did with Jordan Zimmermann after his surgery.
On April 5, 2012, Stephen Strasburg finally made his comeback and was the Nationals’ Opening Day starter versus the Cubs. He opened the season at Wrigley Field in Chicago. It was the first time he ever played at that ballpark and also the first time he ever went to Chicago. The Nats won the game and went on to have their first winning season in franchise history. As we all know, the Nats won 98 games in 2012 and had the best record in baseball in 2012. Strasburg was a big part of the winning record. He dominated until the SSSD (Stephen Strasburg Shutdown Day).
On September 7, 2012– exactly a year and 2 days after his return– Strasburg’s season was over. He pitched against the Marlins but did not have a great game. The Nats lost 9-7 and Stephen Strasburg gave up home runs to Jose Reyes and Emilio Bonofacio. After the game, Davey Johnson told him he was being shut down, as the doctors had agreed. The Nats were right in the middle of their best season ever and on the road to the MLB Playoffs for the first time in history, without their ace pitcher.
Nats fans from Montana to Maryland were expecting it but were still shocked. Most fans thought he would be shut down after his next start or 2 like the POBO (Mike Rizzo) planned, but after his bad game against the Marlins they thought it was better to do it then. A lot of people started debating whether that was the right move. Strasburg didn’t pitch in the Post-Season. Instead, the Nats called up John Lannan to take his rotation spot.
Eventually, the Nats lost the NLDS with no Stras, and that’s that. No one will know whether he would have been healthy or strong enough to continue to pitch in October, but also no one expected the Nats to make the Playoffs last year. People still have different opinions about whether he shut have been shut down. (I wrote a post in January when the Redskins let RGIII play in their playoff game even though he was injured and it may have been the wrong move.)
Now Strasburg is back for 2013 with no limitations. Yesterday he was named the Nats’ Opening Day starter for April 1, 2013 against the Marlins. I hope Stephen Strasburg can carry us into the postseason again in 2013, and be our ace!
GO NATS! IGNITE YOUR #MATTITUDE!
P.S. You may be wondering why I called this post “Stephen Strasburg- Four Pitch Army.” It is because Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes is Stephen’s walk up song. What’s better than calling the post Four Pitch Army, because he has 4 pitches in his arsenal!
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