Strasmus has finally arrived in DC as the phenom pitcher will take the mound tonight against the Pirates. Much is expected out of the young ace after an impressive showing in AA and AAA minor league ball and the anticipation has reached a fever pitch, though the outcome will surely not be as bad as the movie.
What is expected out of Strasburg in the next few years is domination, although what should be expected is an upward sloping curve of excellence. Many fans expect Strasburg to come out and win every game, and while that would be nice, it is not realistic, especially with offensive and bullpen problems. Curt Schilling has said the young Nats pitcher will be the best pitcher in the league when he takes the mound tonight. Many hope this to be true as well, although it is also an unrealistic expectation. I have heard others say his chances of throwing a no-hitter are high, another ludicrous statement from people that have not even seen him play yet.
Becoming a great takes extensive development because the level of play in Major League Baseball is so high, unlike what Strasburg has faced at San Diego State and the minor league level. “I will have no great words of wisdom for [Stephen Strasburg]. I’ll just ask him how far home plate was from the pitching rubber at Syracuse, and he’ll say, ’60 feet, 6 inches,’ and I’ll say, ‘Great, because that’s how far it is here in the big leagues,” Jim Riggleman told Tim Kurkjian in anticipation of tonight’s game. And while Riggleman is correct about that, there are some major differences in the batters he will face, batters that have been playing at the major league level for years. It takes time to truly understand the complexities of pitching at the major league level. He has the tools and the big league pitches, but the development of Strasburg is a continuing project.
What Strasburg has a chance to do tonight is begin building his legacy. If he is to be the best pitcher in the league, the journey to the top starts tonight. It starts with consistency and it ends in domination. GM Mike Rizzo and the Nationals organization have done a good job easing him into the big leagues and all the waiting, watching, and wishing for a chance at success starts tonight. For such a young organization that has experienced very little success, the day Mr Strasburg comes to Washington is a monstrous step forward. After all the suffering of DC sports fan, today symbolizes a day in which an individual has a chance to help the city’s fan base out of the fetal position and into the winners circle.
At least, that’s all we can hope for right now.