Thursday, July 22, 2010
Stephen Strasburg can let loose like few pitchers in the game.
Every single pitch thrown is measured.
There is purpose to every single movement performed on the mound.
No wasted energy.
No convoluted thoughts.
Clarity reigns in the mind of Our Washington Nationals top pitching prospect even on a hot and humid summer night in southern Ohio.
Before another sellout crowd of mostly Cincinnati Reds Fans, The Pied Piper again proved why he's the talk of baseball. Pitching in the home run friendly Great American Ballpark, Stephen Strasburg let it be known that the size of the stadium played in didn't matter. And the powering thumping lineup of the competition didn't matter either.
All that matters is getting the job done.
Our Number 37's pitching focus so great, it's rubbing off on his new teammates.
Have you noticed how Washington plays better baseball when Stephen Strasburg is the starter? How his teammates seem to have greater confidence? How they are as looser at the plate? More focused with their tasks?
That's not coincidence. That's clarity.
When a 22 year-old playing only his 9th Big League game becomes the focal point of every single game he pitches, and when he continues to outperform the expectations--that's going to create a better atmosphere. An environment that raises the level of play in every single person surrounding Strasburg on D.C.'s 25 man roster. Just look at last night's win over The Cincinnati Reds, it's wasn't just Ryan Zimmerman coming to the rescue with his bat, but also Nyjer Morgan, Cristian Guzman, Roger Bernadina and Ian Desmond. Those four combining for six hits, seven rbi and four runs scored. Even Willie Harris jacking a baseball out of the park in the top of the 9th for an important insurance run.
The back end of Washington's bullpen coming to the rescue of each of the subsequent pitcher's they replaced. Drew Storen saved Strasburg in the 6th. Burnett saved Storen in the 7th. Clippard did the same to Burnett in the 7th and Matt Capps closed out Tyler in the 8th and The Cincinnati Reds in the 9th for the four out save--his 24th.
That's teamwork not consistently seen when any other pitcher not named Stephen Strasburg starts for Our Washington Nationals. As loose as Strasburg's mix-matched buttons kept flying off his jersey top last night, D.C.'s Team played just as loose on the field. A certainty to every movement was witnessed--not just from the starters's mound--but also at the plate and in the defensive field. Rightfielder Roger Bernadina throwing out Cincinnati's Jay Bruce attempting to score from 3rd base in the bottom of the 4th for The Defensive Play Of This Game--an inning ending double play set up by a Drew Stubbs' liner to right.
Stephen Strasburg makes everyone surrounding him better. A purity of play that needs to be exercised in those other ball games Our Number 37 doesn't pitch.
Final Score from The Great American Ballpark where there were no convoluted thoughts and no wasted energy, just purpose: Our Washington Nationals 8 and The Cincinnati Reds 5. Curly "W" Number 41 stopped a four game losing streak, becoming only Washington's second win in six games following the All-Star Break (both Strasburg victories). And put on display what D.C.'s Team can do--against a good team--if there is balance in their play.
They can get the job done.
There was no ambiguity to Washington's play last night. No reticence either.
Stephen Strasburg's professional manner brings clarity to the play of Our Washington Nationals. His let loose style relaxing his teammates. And in the long run, hopefully making them a better team overall.
In-Game Photos--Al Behrman (AP)