In case there was any doubt, the hype machine known as Stephen Strasburg is officially legitimate. The 21-year-old was as advertised in his debut Tuesday night, striking out 14 Pirates over seven innings in a 5-2 Washington win. Strasburg gave up just four hits and walked none, with the only two Pittsburgh runs coming on two-out, two-run homer by Delwyn Young in the fourth.
Strasburg’s 14 Ks are the second-most in a debut in Major League history — one short of the record shared by Houston’s J.R. Richard in 1971 and Brooklyn’s Karl Spooner in 1954. He also matched the league-high for strikeouts in a game this season — Detroit’s Max Scherzer also had 14 on May 30 against Oakland.
So what does the phenom have in store for an encore? We’ll find out Sunday, when he’s scheduled to make his second start against the powerhouse Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.