When healthy, Stephen Strasburg is among the best pitchers in the game. If the Nats are to break through in October, they need him to be healthy and strong.
The quirk for Strasburg is pitching from the stretch with the bases empty. He wants to simplify his delivery and has had decent results with it in Florida. Now he must turn it into a way to pitch over 200 innings.
Strasburg has not started over 25 games since 2014 as he battled a variety of injuries after his Tommy John surgery. If he can take the hill 30 times and throw around 190-200 frames, he will have done his share.
We know he can win—earning a 15-4 record last year as his flexor mass injury developed—but he needs to set a personal best this year to ensure the Nats are not stuck in the NL Wild Card Game.
Although strikeouts are a huge portion of Strasburg’s game, he must learn to pitch to contact and keep his pitch count down. At 28, the time is now to change from a thrower to a pitcher. If he is to earn success, he cannot be throwing clean innings over 20 pitches.
In the first year of his new contract, there is extra pressure for him to do well. Strasburg must overcome it and concentrate on each individual start.
The skills are there, the time to perform is now.