Would it surprise you to find out that Stephen Strasburg has never finished higher than 9th in the National League Cy Young voting? The year he finished that high, 2014, Strasburg led the league with 242 strikeouts to go along with a 3.14 ERA in his age 25 season. It looked like he had finally put it all together, until injuries got in the way over the next couple of years.
I guess it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise to learn that Strasburg Cy Young fact. After all, he's always been good - but never really great (at least in terms of season long dominance). When he first came to the majors the hype was unreal, and the 14 strikeout performance in his Washington debut probably didn't help the already outrageous expectations placed upon him. There was so much hype before his first start that ESPN aired the game nationally. It was Nationals versus Pirates back when they both sucked, which would be the present day equivalent of seeing Jets vs Browns on Monday Night Football.
However, we are finally getting the Strasburg that was promised to us all those years ago, back when the days he pitched on were called "Strasmas". Since returning from the DL on August 19th this year the 29-year-old has a sparkling 0.51 ERA with a 41/4 K/BB ratio across 35 innings. He gave up a run in his first inning back, and since then has proceeded to throw 34 consecutive scoreless frames. It's a franchise record, and this recent stretch by him is arguably the best of his career.
With Strasburg throwing the ball so well right now there are some Nats fans out there saying their pitching is as good as Cleveland's, at least on Baseball Reddit they're saying this. To that I say GTFO, Ari Gold style. When you only look at each team's top 3 starters there might be a case to be made for Washington's guys. According to Baseball-Reference Gio Gonzalez and future HOFer Max Scherzer are tied for the lead in pitching WAR. Add in Strasburg and the team has three of the top six leaders. That's really good, but Cleveland is currently riding an 18 game winning streak where their starters have an ERA of 1 and a half or some shit. I'm going to side with the Tribe in this one.
But that's not the point here. The point is that Strasburg, and therefore the Nationals, are a really good baseball team. With the Dodgers collapsing HARD (why aren't people talking about this more?!) the Nats are just four games back of claiming the NL's #1 seed. We've been here before with the Nationals. 2017 will be the club's fourth post-season birth in the last six years, and they've never advanced beyond the first round. Strasburg continuing this hot streak into October would certainly give the club a better chance, particularly with Bryce Harper still sidelined. With just a year and a month to go until Bryce's free agency, the Nats are in full blown, win-now mode as they attempt to win their first ever World Series.