Game over. What a night. Game time: 2:19. There were 40,315 at Nationals Park, a sellout, to watch Stephen Strasburg’s first major league win, 4-2 over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Holy cow! Nats manager Jim Riggleman said before the game he was going to be an unpopular guy because he’d have to take Strasburg out of the game. Well, after he struck out the side in the seventh, after his 14th strikeout and seventh consecutive K, Strasburg was at 94 pitches, four over his limit. Looks like he’s done, but we’ll see.The crowd went nuts after the seventh. Strasburg has also struck out everyone in the Pittsburgh lineup at least once.
Adam Dunn gives Strasburg the lead with a two-run blast to the upper deck in right field with Ryan Zimmerman aboard. Josh Willingham added a solo shot right after Dunn, 4-2 Nats.
Strasburg strikes out the side in the sixth! Has 11 strikeouts through six and has thrown fewer than 80 pitches, which could mean he gets one more inning. The guns here have been a little different. The scoreboard has not had him more than 99 but the MASN telecast has had him at 100 on at least one pitch.
Impressive fifth inning. Two more K’s, including the pitcher Karstens again. Nice easy delivery. Throwing 98 and 99 m.p.h. fastballs. Still a lot of life left. Eight strikesouts through five.
OMG, adversity for Strasburg. Allows two singles to open the fourth, gets a double play but then allows a homer to right by Delwyn Young on a 0-1 changeup. Now losing, 2-1
First major league at-bat. Strasburg hit a ball deep in the shortstop hole in bottom of third. Didn’t run hard to first base or would have beat it out. Good thing he has six strikeouts.
Tremendous late movement on his fastball. Strasburg struck out two in the third, including the pitcher, Karstens. He’s at 40 pitches through three innings. At this rate he might be able to go seven innings.
Guys are just buckling on his curevball. The drop-dead kind. Adam LaRoche singled to right field with two outs. Strasburg had struck out Garret Jones after falling behind 3-and-0 and also struck out Delwyn Young on a curve. Ronny Cedeno dropped to 0-and-2 quickly, managed to foul a ball off. Don’t imagine Strasburg has had to pitch from the stretch too often, but he just struck out Cedeno on a 89-m.p.h. changeup. An amazing 10 m.p.h. difference between change and fastball. Unbelievable.
Ryan Zimmerman gives Strasburg a 1-0 lead with a home run against, oh yeah, the other pitcher, Jeff Karstens, in bottom of the first .
Strasburg will take 11-pitch innings any day of the week. That’s what he got in his first major league inning. Pretty impressive. Got behind on the count to both Andrew McCutcheon and Neil Walker, but retired both on a liner to short and a grounder to first. No. 3 hitter Lastings Milledge, who once played in Washington, got a roaring boo, and struck out on a nice 83-m.p.h. curveball. Strasburg was throwing his fastball at 99 m.p.h.
6:59: Strasburg gets a standing ovation as he comes in from the bullpen
Pregame: Quite an event about to get underway in the nation’s capital. Phenom Stephen Strasburg, according to Washington Nationals manager Jim Riggleman, will go no more than six innings and the hope is he throws in the 90-pitch range.
Scott Boras has held court for quite a while as reporters have asked him all about his famous young client.
Boras said Strasburg is one of the rarest talents he’s ever come across. He said Strasburg has already generated a lot of revenue with a sold-out stadium, improved television ratings, and merchandise in his name that is going through the roof. There were plenty of examples of that last night, with Strasburg jerseys flying off the shelf.
We’ll have more as the game begins.