Stephen Strasburg has begun his Major League career with two impressive wins against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians. His second start came on the road, but not being at home didn’t phase the rookie as he shut down the Indian offense in a 9-4 Nationals victory.
“Strasburgmania” now seems to be in full effect as the 21-year old rookie has been seen in newspapers and magazines all over the country. He made an appearance on David Letterman last week after striking out 14 Pirates last Tuesday.
On Sunday, Strasburg went five and 1/3 innings striking out eight, and giving up two hits. The lone blemish was a lead-off homer allowed in the second inning to Travis Hafner. Strasburg didn’t give up a walk against the Pirates, but allowed five base-on-balls in the game against the Indians.
Strasburg seemed to be frustrated by the loose dirt on the mound, and requested mound repairs twice. He showed frustration for the first time in the sixth, kicking the dirt after allowing a free-pass.
“Things like that are part of the game,” Strasburg said. “I wish I could have handled it a little bit better. It kind of got me into a little funk. But it’s good to experience this now. If it happens again, I’ll make the right adjustment.”
Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond was impressed with the level of maturity Strasburg showed when the ground failed to be structurally intact.
“He’s amazing,” shortstop Ian Desmond said. “I saw that hole and it was pretty deep. He handled the adversity pretty well. A lot of guys would have been very upset. He didn’t like it, but he handled it like a pro. What amazes me is his composure all the time.”
The second largest crowd this season at Progressive Field turned out to watch the National’s rookie throw his second game. The 32,876 Cleveland faithful booed Strasburg after he exited in the sixth after allowing two straight walks to load the bases.
Also on hand to witness Strasburg’s was Hall of Famer Bob Feller, who struck out 15 in his major league debut as a 17-year old in 1936. Now 91, Feller was pleased to see another young prospect performing well early in their career.
“It’s real refreshing to see anyone with such talent come into the league,” said Feller. “He’ll have good days and bad, but he’ll have a lot more good than bad throwing 100 miles per hour. I wish him well.”
MLB sportsbooks have set the Nationals as long shots to win the National League in 2010 at 40/1 odds. The mid-season odds for the Nationals to win the 2010 World Series have been set at 75/1.