Stephen Strasburg arrived bigger than anyone expected last night, striking out 14 batters across seven innings of work. More impressive to me though, he struck out the final seven Pittsburgh Pirates he faced and he only used 94 pitches to finish those seven innings in one of the most impressive Major League debuts ever for a pitcher. I won't put too much stock into him yet though because he was facing one of the lowliest teams in the league (the Pirates are 23-35 this season.
His next stop?
That would be Progressive Field on Sunday.
While his appearance is certain to spike attendance and bring in some cash for the Indians, it is also likely to bring some national attention to Cleveland's inferiority. A friend of mine referred to the game as "Strasburg vs. a AAAA team" in a Facebook status, and that is a fair assessment. Without their biggest stars (Grady Sizemore and Asdrubal Cabrera), Strasburg still won't really see any superstar competition other than Shin-Soo Choo (Cleveland is an even worse 21-36 and is led in batting by journeyman Austin Kearns at .306).
And we probably won't know Strasburg's full potential for awhile, as his next starts likely will come against the White Sox (24-33) and Orioles (16-42). But that still shouldn't stop you from heading out to Progressive Field on Sunday, just in case this guy does turn out to be the real deal.
Getty Image via Post-Gazette