Tag Archives: Strausburg Debut
Coolbaugh: Stephen Strausburg’s debut was a bright spot for Nationals, D.C. and the game of baseball
By Gethin Coolbaugh
For a brief moment in time, the nation turned its attention to a baseball game in Washington D.C last night.
But it wasn’t the game itself that drew the attention of millions of baseball fans, or the two teams playing it.
Instead, the focus of the sports nation turned to a 21-year-old hurler who carries the weight of an entire franchise and city on his shoulder.
A weight, that he is more than capable of carrying.
Stephen Strausburg made his Major League debut on Tuesday night in front of a sellout crowd at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
It was the most anticipated debut in the sport’s history, and Nationals fans were alerted of it a week prior.
Within hours, the game was sold out.
Strausburg knew that he would be making his high stakes debut on June 8th. And for a 21-year-old, that can be a lot to handle.
But instead of succumbing to the pressure, Strausburg turned in a performance for the ages.
Strausburg allowed four hits, two earned runs and zero walks while striking out an unprecedented 14 batters in seven innings as the Nationals topped the Pirates 5-3 in a night that will never be forgotten in the D.C. area.
His first pitch was a ball outside to Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, followed by two straight 99 mile per hour fastballs. McCutchen then grounded out to short for the game’s first out.
Neil Walker then lined out to first for the second out before Strausburg struck out Lastings Milledge for his first Major League punchout.
Ryan Zimmerman hit a solo home run in the bottom of the first to give Strausburg a 1-0 lead heading into the second inning.
Strausburg gave up his first hit to third baseman Andy Laroche in the second inning, which was an opposite field single to right.
His flawless debut was interrupted in the top of the fourth inning when Delwyn Young hit a two-run home run to deep right center.
But in retrospect, it was a blip on the radar.
When Strausburg was finally taken out in the seventh, he received a much deserved ovation and took three shaving cream pies to the face after the game.
As far as first impression go, his was nearly spotless.
But Strausburg’s debut was much more than a spotless start resulting in a win. In a way, it issued in a new era in baseball, specifically in Washington.
Not since the 1971 has the Washington area had a ball club that it could take pride in. While the Nationals moved to D.C. in 2005, they haven’t done anything that warranted any celebration.
One quality start doesn’t guarantee that a franchise is on a path to redemption, but it does give Nationals fans something they haven’t had since the club’s days in Montreal: hope.
And after the selection of catcher Bryce Harper with the first pick overall in this year’s first year player draft, baseball in Washington has never seemed more promising.
There’s no question that those seven strong innings that Strausburg pitched on Tuesday night were the most important in franchise history, and they may be the most important for baseball in the modern day era.
Strausburg’s emergence opens up a new chapter in baseball history. As far as we cal tell, Strausburg is the next pitching great.
His star power is already at an 11 on a scale of 10, and the guy pitched once.
But not only does his potential superstardom open up new avenues for the Nationals, but it benefits Major League Baseball nation wide.
Fans of struggling teams such as Kansas City, Baltimore and Cleveland will flock to the ballpark to get a glimpse of Strausburg.
You can bet that Bud Selig is wearing his Strausburg jersey today.
But most importantly, Strausburg brings a new level of competition into the league. From his wide array of pitches to his commanding control, Strausburg sets the bar a little higher for his fellow pitchers.
As a baseball fan, I’m thrilled to have the chance to watch a dominant pitcher grow and develop into a potential legend.
And maybe one day, when I take my kids to Cooperstown, I might see a golden plaque with the following inscription.
Stephen Strausburg: The greatest pitcher that ever lived.
Gethin Coolbaugh is the Associate Editor of Boston Sports U18. He can be reached at 774-279-1995 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit Gethin Coolbaugh’s official website and follow Gethin Coolbaugh on Twitter.