Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg burst onto the scene in 2010, and he made one of the most electric debuts in MLB history. Ever since Strasburg took the field for the Nationals, the team has consistently been a contender in the NL East. The Nats have been one of the most wagered-upon teams in baseball during this stretch. If you’re interested in placing bets on baseball you can click here to wager on the Nationals or other MLB teams.
He struck out 14 batters on that day, which ended up being one of the most amazing environments ever at Nationals Park. Fans were on their feet during nearly the entirety of his outing — we know, because we were there — and it had a playoff intensity.
And now he’s etched his name in the record books.
“I was told a long time ago that strikeouts aren’t everything and I think it’s important to be able to put guys away when you have two strikes,” Strasburg said. “But at the same time I get myself into trouble when I’m trying to strike them out.”
Strasburg struck out opposing pitcher Dakota Hudson in the fifth inning of Thursday’s game — which was his eighth of the evening — and it was a historic one. That ended up being Strasburg’s 1,500th strikeout of his career, and he was the fastest in MLB history to accomplish that feat.
“For all he’s been through, the expectations that he came into this organization with, some of the injuries he’s dealt with over his career, I’m really happy for him to get a milestone like this at home,” closer Sean Doolittle said. “And he’s pitching really, really well right now.”
Strasburg downplayed the accomplishment.
“It’s pretty cool, but I was told a long time ago that strikeouts aren’t everything,” he said. “I think it’s important to know how to put guys away when you have two strikes. But at the same time, I get myself in trouble when I’m trying to strike them out.”
“That’s impressive. I mean it really is,” manager Dave Martinez said. “Here’s a guy that missed a considerable amount of time in his career and still has 1,500 strikeouts. That just only tells me what an unbelievable pitcher he is, and the way he’s going right now, if he stays healthy, the sky is the limit.”
He also did this.
However, the performance wasn’t enough to save the job of pitching coach Derek Lilliquist, who Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo announced after the game had been relieved of his duties.
“We felt both the rotation and the bullpen, we had some flaws in there, we thought there (were) preparation issues there and we wanted to get a new message and a new voice,” Rizzo said.
That new voice will be longtime pitching coordinator Paul Menhart, who will take over at least through the end of the season. However, Rizzo said the shakeup does not mean Martinez is also on the hot seat as manager of the now 13-17 Nationals.
“I think Davey is doing a great job,” Rizzo said.