Strasburg held to strict limited pitch counts

The Washington Nationals are struggling in fourth place and haven’t had much to play for as the season winds down. It’s a perfect time to get Stephen Strasburg back into the line-up to rekindle the fans’ excitement.

Almost a year after he went under the knife for Tommy John surgery, the Nats pitching phenom returned to the mound to once again show he has the ability to dominate.

Making his first start on September 6th against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Strasburg threw five shutout innings allowing just two hits while striking out four batters. He was on a limited pitch count (throwing just 56 pitches) but was incredibly efficient.

S.S. took the mound again for his second start against the Houston Astros and showed flashes of brilliance with a reminder he isn’t quite all the way back. In that game, Strasburg made it through just three innings with a similar pitch count but allowed just one run on three hits. The fastballer struck out four without walking a single hitter.

However, against the Astros, Strasburg’s control wasn’t as good as normal and some of his pitches were a tick slower than last year. He threw more pitches (57) in his three innings than it took him to get through five in his first start.

Despite not being perfect, Strasburg looks like he should be back to full strength for the Nationals in 2012, giving the team hope they can be relevant for the first time since moving to Washington, D.C.

Strasburg should make three more starts this year, taking it slow and hopefully avoiding any setbacks. When he was injured last season, numerous comparisons to Mark Prior were made, and will stick with Strasburg until he proves he can stay healthy over a full Major League season.

Strasburg can out the gate with a bang last season, striking out a record-setting 14 hitters in his 5-2 debut win then followed that game up with another impressive outing. Considered one of the best young pitching prospects ever, he signed a record $15.1 million contract but soon ran into arm trouble that led to the surgery.

With a full year of Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann, the Nationals could finally build the top of their rotation and will look to challenge the Braves and Phillies for a playoff spot if things go according to plan.

Used with permission of the author.

Brett is the editor and a contributor for www.BravesFTW.com. He has covered MLB and the Braves for numerous websites and is a regular contributor to Sports Climax. Follow Brett on Twitter.

Copyright ©2011 Sports Climax, LLC

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