Oh “K” – Diamondbacks vs. Strasburg

Earlier this month the Washington Nationals visited Chase Field for a four game series. Diamondbacks fans had looked forward to this series as an opportunity to see first-hand the pitching of Stephen Strasburg.

Unfortunately Strasburg was on the disabled list and unavailable to pitch during the road trip. Instead Diamondbacks fans were able to watch Strasburg shag fly balls in the outfield and run wind sprints. Based upon those two activities he didn’t look a whole lot different than any other opposing pitcher.

Since their visit to Phoenix, the Nationals had activated Strasburg from the disabled list and given probable pitching match-ups he would face Barry Enright and the Arizona Diamondbacks in the final game of the series.

With the Diamondbacks leading the universe in strikeouts and Strasburg already making his mark as a premiere strikeout pitcher this battle was shaping up to be epic. The Diamondbacks have four players ranked in the top-20 in Major League Baseball in strikeouts led by third baseman Mark Reynolds who has a mind boggling 161 punch-outs.

This game had all the makings of a record setting performance by Strasburg. A funny thing happened on the way to the batter’s box. Arizona hitters took Strasburg deep into the count and found some success against the young right-hander.

Strasburg lasted just five innings allowing three runs on five hits while striking out seven. Yes, you read that right, seven. For many teams seven strikeouts in five innings would be a red flag but in the case of the Diamondbacks, it is heralded as a minor success.

Strasburg left the game in the sixth inning after 85 pitches. The game was tied 3-3 meaning the young phenom did not figure into the decision. Arizona first baseman Adam LaRoche touched up the rookie for his 20th home run of the season.

The Diamondbacks did not have much time to celebrate, Left-handed reliever Jordan Norberto gave up a run in the seventh and Esmerling Vasquez followed with another run in the eighth to give the Nationals the win.

Diamondbacks hitters came away impressed with young Strasburg exclaiming the hype was warranted. His stuff was “electric” and he could very well be a mainstay at the top of the Nationals pitching rotation for years to come.

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