Stephen Strasburg is on the National League All-Star team. He is the subject of a heated debate among Nationals fans as to whether or not he should be “shut down” later this season in order to preserve his young career while the team hunts a playoff berth. In 17 starts this season he has struck out 128 hitters and logged a 9-4 record.
Stephen Strasburg is a superstar.
The Colorado Rockies, with their near-league-worst 32-51 record, have now defeated him twice in the last two weeks.
Tyler Colvin headed the attack once again, becoming the first player to ever launch two home runs off Strasburg in the same game. He has the highest slugging percentage (.824) in all of baseball since June 9th and now has 13 HR and 40 RBI on the season. He is also seemingly the only Rockie who does not turn into a nervous, panicky, flailing and incompetent hitter when the team plays on the road. What a wonderfully refreshing concept.
On offense Dexter Fowler added his 11th home run of the season. Remember all of the ink, tweets, and energy that was spilled, thumbed, and wasted in the interest of the Colvin v. Fowler debate earlier this season? Apparently everybody was right, because they both need to play every single day. Period. I bet you never thought you would be clamoring for fewer at-bats from Michael Cuddyer and Todd Helton, but here we are.
Perhaps the most glaring lesson from yesterday’s game is the familiar baseball axiom: it’s all about pitching. My
friend source who attended last night’s game informs me that, to the fan’s eye sitting in the park, the Nationals did not have a single hard hit ball until the 8th inning. Drew Pomeranz is unconscious in his two starts since returning from Colorado Springs, having surrendered a mere three hits combined in his two starts. His 6.1 shutout innings earned him his first victory of the season.
These kinds of victories are almost bittersweet. Of course I am happy to see the Rockies log a rare victory. But I also cannot help but lament what could have been. The Rockies are so bad it can sometimes be easy to forget just how potent this offense is, especially when Jim Tracy gets out of his own way and plays the likes of Colvin, Fowler, Wilin Rosario and Jordan Pacheco. Paired with that offense, competent starting pitching would make this a .500 team. Dominant starting pitching like Pomeranz delivered last night would make them a playoff team.
Alas, they are about as close to having dominant starting pitching as I am to writing a New York Times bestseller.