Washington Nationals: Stephen Strasburg continues to dominate


Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg continued to dominate this week, leading to him being named District on Deck’s player of the week.

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg is one of the best pitchers in the league, if healthy. Unfortunately, throughout his career, that has been a big if.

Health has even been an issue this season. Strasburg landed on the disabled list on July 27 with a right elbow nerve impingement, and was forced to miss nearly a month.

However, Strasburg has been absolutely dominant since returning from the disabled list. He returned on August 19 in his hometown of San Diego, and has been the best pitcher in the league ever since.

On August 19, Strasburg allowed two runs on four hits in six innings, and he has not allowed a single run since. That’s right; it has been almost an entire month since he last allowed a run. He has managed to throw a whopping 34 consecutive scoreless innings, a new franchise record.

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Strasburg’s dominance continued this week, throwing eight shutout innings en route to a Nats win against the Phillies last Sunday. Trea Turner, Wilmer Difo, and Adam Lind were the only three members of the Opening Day roster in the starting lineup, so the Nats needed Strasburg to pitch well in order to get a win. He did just that, only allowing two hits over eight shutout innings.

While the Nats were all but guaranteed to win the division and were playing against the last-place Phillies, this was a relatively big game. If the Nats won and the Marlins lost, the Nats would be crowned division champions.

On the strength of Strasburg’s outstanding outing, the Nats won the game. After waiting a bit, they also watched the Braves walk off against the Marlins and finally got to enjoy their much-deserved celebration.

While Strasburg has only pitched in one postseason game, this one had a postseason feel. Between his scoreless innings streak and the possibility of clinching, the game was a lot bigger than a normal September matchup with the Phillies.

It was obvious that Strasburg felt this way as well. In the eighth inning, Aaron Altherr grounded into a double play, highlighted by a great play by Adrian Sanchez at third base. The normally stoic Strasburg loved it, and let the world know. He pointed at Sanchez and screamed, obviously feeling the excitement of being on the verge of clinching.

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The Nats’ offense has been struggling, but they have continued to win with phenomenal starting pitching, led by Strasburg. If he is able to continue to pitch lights-out and remain healthy, he appears ready to lead the Nats on a deep postseason run. The big question will be whether or not he is able to stay on the field, but he is healthy right now and pitching as well as he ever has.