Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg has officially earned the Opening Day start for the team in Chicago on April 5, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com. This finally ended the weeks long debate on who would get that start.
Strasburg is entering the first full season of his MLB career, after about three months of starts in 2010 and missing most of the 2011 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. This spring, Strasburg has been hot and cold, but he felt strong on Tuesday night, throwing 85 pitches over 5 IP, giving up just one run on a homer and two hits. He struck out three and walked just one. On the spring, his 1.16 WHIP and .236 BAA show promise of what’s to come for the team’s best starter.
The Nationals have ultimately shown their confidence in Strasburg by naming him the #1 starter. They obviously believe he’s 100% healthy, and he obviously believes it, too. It also sets up the rotation more favorably, with Gio Gonzalez slotting into the two spot, with Jordan Zimmerman, Edwin Jackson, and either Chien-Ming Wang or John Lannan behind him. Having Strasburg on the bump on April 5 will give the team and its fans a mental jolt, even with an away game. As arguably the team’s first true ace in its now eight year history, it is the right way to start a season with such incredible promise as this one.