by Charlie Miller
Last night the capital was abuzz with excitement not seen in a few years. And it had nothing to do with job creation, bond ratings or tax relief.
Mr. Strasburg was in the house.
Yes, Stephen Strasburg made the second most anticipated start of his career last night. The first came on June 8, 2010.
Amidst all the anticipation, speculation and exhilaration the media mustered pregame, there stood a calm, relaxed, tall righthander, seemingly taking it all in stride.
And in all the chatter about pitch count, first-pitch strikes, velocity, command and all the other buzz words, no one talked about the maturity of Strasburg. As a pitcher or as an athlete.
But last night Strasburg performed like a polished pitcher, a vast improvement from the flame-thrower he was last June. And that’s taking nothing away from just how good he was last season.
In his first major league start, he threw 94 pitches, many of them clocking triple digits on radar guns, and he whiffed 14 batters in seven innings. Batters swung and missed 17 times.
Last night, he threw just 56 pitches, 40 for strikes and there were only four swings from Dodgers that came up empty. He was intentional and efficient with an assortment of pitches. He threw not so much like a young buck with all the talent in the world, but like an experienced veteran understanding just how to use his immense talent.
Whether it was soul-searching expected from a pitcher rehabbing from Tommy John surgery or just a matter of time, Stephen Strasburg has matured into an elite pitcher and what a future he will have in Washington. A brighter future than anyone else working in that town.