Stephen Strasburg has now started 187 games for the Washington Nationals, 184 in the regular season and 3 in the postseason. He's been so good that there are shutouts and double-digit strikeout games missing from this list of his top 10 games. Games were selected for circumstance as well as pure performance.
10. September 6, 2011: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO vs. LAD
This was Strasburg's first game back from Tommy John surgery. He was on a strict pitch count, and yet was so pitch-efficient that he left the game in line for a win. Unfortunately, the bullpen allowed 7 runs in 4 innings and the Nationals lost. However, Strasburg immediately demonstrated that he could be very effective post-injury.
9. June 18, 2010: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 SO vs. CHW
As great and exhilarating as Strasburg's first career start was, his third start was almost as good. He needed only 85 pitches to get through 7 innings, and actually got more whiffs (18) than in his debut (17 on 94 pitches). As in #10, however, the Nationals bullpen could not hold a lead.
8. July 24, 2013: 8 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 12 SO vs. PIT
After never going more than 7 innings in his first three seasons, this was the third time Strasburg went 8 innings in 2013. With a season-high 12 strikeouts, it was his most dominant game of that length yet, as he allowed only 2 hits. Unfortunately, one of them was a home run by Pedro Alvarez, and Strasburg left the game trailing 1-0 and took the hard-luck loss.
7. September 26, 2015: 8 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 13 SO vs. PHI
The hated Phillies wanted none of Stephen Strasburg in September of 2015. With the Nats' playoff hopes hanging by a thread, Strasburg retired the first 12 batters he faced and saw the minimum 21 batters through 7 innings. In the eighth inning, the Phillies finally scored on Strasburg before he struck out Jeff Francoeur to escape with a 1-1 tie. The Nats went on to win in 12 innings, but were nonetheless eliminated.
6. May 27, 2017: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 15 SO vs. SDP
Facing his hometown team in DC, Strasburg set a new career high in strikeouts when he fanned Franchy Cordero to end the 7th inning up 3-0. Thanks in part to two errors by his infielders, Strasburg faced 11 batters in the first two innings, but 4 strikeouts helped him escape unscathed. He continued to dominate from there for his first credited win on this list.
5. September 15, 2015: 8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 14 SO at PHI
This was Strasburg's other game against Philadelphia in September 2015, and it came at the Citizens Bank Bandbox. A first inning walk and fifth inning single were all the Phillies could manage against Strasburg, who induced a whopping 27 swings and misses on just 105 pitches.
4. October 6, 2017: 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 SO vs. CHC
Strasburg's first career playoff start came in 2014, and while it was no disaster, it could have gone better as he allowed 8 hits and 2 runs (1 earned) in 5 innings. In Game 1 of the 2017 NLDS, however, Strasburg made anyone who predicted his performance based off of that 2014 game look silly. He also made the Cubs' hitters look silly, starting the game with 5 no-hit innings. Two unearned runs in the sixth inning and a struggling offense led to an unfortunate defeat, but no one could blame the starting pitcher.
3. August 11, 2013: 9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 SO vs. PHI
Strasburg earned his first career complete game shutout with a dominating performance. (The second of his career doesn't even make the list, so Strasburg at his best has proven himself dominant time and time again.) He faced 2 hitters above the minimum while throwing only 99 pitches, 66 of them for strikes. All 10 K's came in the first 7 innings, before Philadelphia tried to go on the attack and went down in order in the last 2 innings on just 17 pitches, allowing Strasburg to complete the game.
2. June 8, 2010: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 14 SO vs. PIT
"Strasmas." A 27-31 team coming off of consecutive 100-loss seasons sells out the stadium and attracts national press coverage. And then the reason for it all delivers. Strasburg showed off his 100 mph heat and knee-buckling curve from the get-go, but saved his best for last, fanning the final seven hitters he faced and reducing color commentator Rob Dibble to a stream of one-word interjections by the end of it.
1. October 11, 2017: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 12 SO at CHC
His team hanging on for dear life on the road in Game 4 of the NLDS, in a game nobody knew he would start until the day of the contest, Strasburg met a stage bigger than that of his debut. And now a seven-year veteran, he was even better than ever before. The Cubs swung and missed 22 times at 106 pitches as Strasburg reduced his career playoff ERA to 0.47. He struck out the side in order twice, including in his final inning of work, and the Nats lived to fight another day.