Written by: Tre LyDay – Staff Writing Intern (@trelyday03)
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the entire summer, then you’ve seen what Stephen Strasburg has been up to this season. He’s started the season a flawless 13-0 in 17 starts. He’s the fifth pitcher in the Cy-Young era to start a season 13-0 or better. Coincidentally enough his teammate Max Scherzer was the last pitcher to do so back in 2013 when he was in Detroit.
Strasburg’s stats look like video game numbers. He’s 13-0 with a 2.51 ERA, 138 strikeouts and a .99 WHIP; all in 114.2 innings pitched. His career high for strikeouts in a season is 242, and he’s on pace to break that, so long as he stays healthy the rest of the season. Opponents hit a minuscule .195 against him, which would just kill my self-esteem if I knew that’s what I was going up against.
Strasburg has spent some time on the DL this year with a back injury, but it didn’t slow him down. After he returned from the DL on July 3rd, he’s made three starts. In those three starts he’s pitched 21.2 innings, five hits, two runs, nine walks and 20 strikeouts. Strasburg is on a level that you don’t see very often. Not even Clayton Kershaw has started a season 13-0, and he has man MVP and multiple Cy Young awards. Strasburg has none of those, but the way he’s going, and with Kershaw’s nagging back injury he could finally get his first Cy Young award.
Strasburg has been the focal point for a Nationals team that leads the NL East by 4.5 games, and the way the Marlins are playing, he’s going to have to keep it up to keep them at bay. It’s hard to put into words the kind of season Strasburg is having. I can spit out all the numbers, but the numbers don’t do it justice. Every outing he makes it look easy. The shortest outing he’s had this year was on June 4th against Cincinnati, where he only lasted 5.1 innings, giving up three runs on only four hits. He still struck out 10 batters, and the only reason the outing was so short was because he threw 91 pitches. So even when he has a bad outing, it’s still a quality start.
Only one pitcher has not won the Cy Young award after starting a season 13-0 or better, and that was Dave McNally back in 1969, and that year, two guys shared the award. One of them being McNally’s teammate Mike Cuellar. Should Strasburg continue on the pace he’s on, there’s no reason he shouldn’t win the award.
Strasburg will go for 14-0 on Thursday against the Dodgers, who he’s had decent success against in the past. He was actually scheduled to start against Kershaw in Los Angeles back on June 20th, but was scratched with back stiffness, which is the reason he landed on the DL. Hopefully I didn’t just jinx him with this article.