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Stephen Strasburg Is Who We Thought He Was

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 29:  Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals delivers the pitch against the Houston Astros during the first inning in Game Six of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 29, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Stephen Strasburg entered Major League Baseball a decade ago with ungodly expectations and the weight of the world on his right arm. He was babied along, and to great controversy. The Washington Nationals tried to keep him pristine, to shelter him from the realities of the fiber-pulling strain that comes with being a solitary man atop a bump 60 feet from home plate.

There were growing pains. And actual pains. The righthander made only 17 starts in his first two years. In 2013 he reverted back to a sub-.500 pitcher. A year later he led the National League with 34 starts-- but the injury bug struck once again in 2015.

Strasburg lived a lifetime in the bigs before age 27. It appeared he'd never realize the dreams so many set out for him. He was a forgotten man, never included among discussion of the game's elite.

Then it happened.

Since 2016, Strasburg has, without a shred of the fanfare that marked his nascent years, has become That Guy. He found his way back on the track to glory.

The numbers are downright silly. A 58-21 regular season record. A 5-0 mark and 1.98 ERA in just this postseason. He was once again dominant in last night's Game 6, the biggest stage of them all. His performance was equal parts dazzling and gritty.

The 25 outs Strasburg recorded will be legendary if Washington can win Game 7 tonight. Even if not, they will serve as the exclamation point on a journey that's been meandering but richly rewarding and ended up at its expected point.

Stephen Strasburg got where many thought he could go. It just took awhile.