On Tuesday, Stephen Strasburg, the sum of all of Washington’s athletic hopes, got shelled.
4.1 innings/6 hits/6 ER/4 SO
Tomorrow, he pitches again. I am sure there are fans out there who are concerned he is an injury risk. Should the Nats shut him down? No clue. But every pitcher, including phenoms, gets shellacked. Early and often, too. But fans forget about those games, because who wants to remember the warts of a great season? Here are a few such warts that show Strasburg is still in good company.
Dwight Gooden: An All-Star and the 1984 Rookie of the Year, Gooden allowed six runs, seven hits and four stolen bases in 3.1 innings on April 13, the second game of the season.
Roger Clemens: The Steroid Rocket didn’t start nearly as hot as Gooden in 1984. In Clemens’ first game he got rocked for 11 hits and in his first six starts allowed 28 earned runs. It wasn’t until mid-July Clemens had a start without allowing a run, and it wasn’t until a couple weeks later that he got his ERA under 5.00.
Mark Prior: The Strasburg cautionary tale had 147 strikeouts in 116.2 innings, including 10 in his first-ever start in 2002. His third start was much worse: Seven earned runs and three homers in 3.2 innings. Ouch.
Ubaldo Jimenez: The 2010 Cy Young candidate and All-Star had a dreadful fifth start in 2007 — Nine runs (five earned) on nine hits in two (!) innings. Like Clemens, Ub didn’t really hit his stride until August; both were different players at the end of the year than they were at the start.
After sifting through these other young players’ wreckage, safe to say Strasburg will pitch terribly again, probably within a few weeks. But that in itself isn’t an indication he is injured; instead it simply indicates he is facing Major-League hitting.