If Scherzer can’t pitch on Opening Day, it would seem the favorite to pitch in that game would be Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg missed the postseason last year because of a strained flexor mass in his right elbow. So far, it seems as if Strasburg is healthy and ready to go for the 2017 season:
Before getting injured last year, Strasburg was 13-0 at one point in the 2016 season and seemed to be a candidate for the National League Cy Young. He heads into the first year of his new seven-year, $175 million deal. Right now, the right-hander in a spot where fans want him to live up to the contract. He needs to pitch like a number two starter behind Scherzer if the Nats want to achieve their World Series aspiration.
In spring training last season, Strasburg struck out 19 batters in four starts. This includes a nine-strikeout outing he had in five innings against the Yankees on March 23. Results aren’t everything in spring. However, it will be interesting to see how much he uses the slider, a pitch he unveiled last season, in addition to his fastball and changeup combination.
Since the second half of the 2015 season, Strasburg has been one of the better pitchers in the game when healthy. Now, the organization is hoping that they can at least get 25 starts from him, something that hasn’t happened since he made 34 starts back in 2014.