Here is what the Washington Nationals have in Stephen Strasburg, the pitching prodigy they drafted and managed to sign at great expense:
Strasburg has put the Nats squarely on baseball’s map, on the list of can’t-miss attractions in the game that must be seen. Does he really throw 100 to 102 mph with command? Or is that partly scouts’ mythology? Is his 93-mph slider really his best pitch, so sharp it actually seems to hit something in midair and deflect?
Here is what they have now, referring to starting pitcher Collin Balestre’s performance in a 5-4 loss to Colorado in which he lasted only one and a third innings:
He walked five, including the first three batters of the game. He threw at least two high fastballs that missed the strike zone by more than three feet. One nearly exited the playing field altogether through the gates behind home plate. On top of that, he bounced a pickoff attempt at second base into center field and allowed a two-RBI double to Troy Tulowitzki in the first.