Posted by: Jeff | June 9, 2010

From the Desk of Captain Obvious

Photo: Yahoo Sports

Stephen Strasburg is really, really good.  14 strikeouts, 4 hits, and 0 walks over 7 innings is an elite stat line.  It’s the most strikeouts in a single game by a single pitcher this season so far, and the most strikeouts with no walks in a first appearance over Major League Baseball’s 100+ year history.

As exciting as it was to watch him play last night, it was even more exciting to see baseball fans in Washington start to congeal around the hometown team.  The Nationals have really struggled to establish a fan base in a town where nearly everyone comes from somewhere else.  Anybody following baseball for more than 6 years started as a fan of a different team.  Moving the Expos to DC was a great idea, but MLB essentially picked the only team without a pre-existent group of fans to make the move.

Now the Nationals are winning those fans.  This year’s team is the first that seems convincing in their desire to win ball games.  Fifty games into the season, and the Nationals are still within striking distance in the race for the Division lead (an ailing Phillies team is partially responsible for that).  But now comes the beginning of a new era – the Nationals have added two stars in Strasburg and 2010 Draft selectee Bryce Harper to stand along bonafide star Ryan Zimmerman.  There are a couple of other young pitchers and hitters in the lineup already, making it very exciting to look ahead a season or two.  If the Nationals can keep this core intact, you have to think they will be making a push for the NL crown sooner rather than later.

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