Sun Sep 18 04:04am EDT
That's precisely the sort of command Strasburg showed before his elbow needed to be repaired a year ago. In fact, as Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington reported, Strasburg hasn't walked anyone in 96 batters going back to August 2010.
And he was throwing 99 mph against the Marlins.
He's not anywhere close to a record (yet); Bill Fischer of the A's went 84 1/3 innings without issuing a walk in 1962. Still, he's showing Greg Maddux-like control (though it should be noted that Maddux, when he was at his best in 1995, went a stretch of 191 batters without issuing a walk).
And remember, Maddux and Fischer weren't coming off surgery that is supposed to affect a pitcher's control in the early stages of a comeback. That was the case in 2010 for teammate Jordan Zimmermann(notes), who in this third start after Tommy John allowed four walks and threw only 48 of 79 pitches for strikes.
Strasburg is picking up where he left off in 2010, when he started to take the league by storm. Not that he's too impressed with himself:
"I'm just trying to throw strikes, and walks are going to happen," he insisted. "Nobody can go out there and throw the ball exactly where they want to every time."
Oh, yeah? Prove it, kid. Strasburg is throwing 71 percent of his pitches for strikes (124 of 174), which is a better percentage (albeit in a smaller sample size) than league-leader Cliff Lee(notes) (69 percent).
Strasburg's other numbers look just as good: 1.29 ERA, .188 batting average against, two extra-base hits allowed, 11 strikeouts.
It's only three starts, but his performance is easily the most encouraging nugget in the Nats' disappointing season. And it's also good for the league. Strasburg is going to be every bit as dominant as predicted before he got hurt. That means Strasmas every five days, starting in April, in 2012.
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