With Max Scherzer a little behind schedule but likely ready to go for his first turn in the rotation, and things lining up like they were, it was pretty clear who would get called up to start on Opening Day even before the official announcement this morning.
It will be Strasburg’s fourth Opening Day start, his second against the Marlins, but his first since 2014.
He started three straight (2012-14) before the Nationals signed Max Scherzer and the veteran righty took over the Opening Day duties in each of the last two seasons (‘15-16).
Strasburg is coming off a 2016 campaign which saw him dominate out of the gate, going (13-0) in his first 17 starts before once again dealing with injury issues.
After struggling in a stretch of outings in August, he landed on the DL with soreness in his right elbow.
He returned to make one start in September before what was later diagnosed as a partial tear of the pronator tendon in his right arm shut him down.
Strasburg finished his seventh major league season (15-4) in 24 outings with a 3.60 ERA, 2.92 FIP, 44 walks (2.68 BB/9) and 183 Ks (11.15 K/9) in 147 2⁄3 innings pitched, over which he held opposing hitters to a combined .216/.278/.359 line.
He told reporters this winter that his goal this season was to stay healthy and make sure he is around if the Nationals return to the postseason.
“I don’t want to miss any more time,” Strasburg said.
“I’m not saying that’s not going to happen. There are some times you’re going to get hurt and there’s nothing you can do about it.
“But I’m going to continue to try to figure out this puzzle and hopefully this next year I’ll have a better grasp on what I need to do to stay healthy.”
Nats’ skipper Dusty Baker made the news that Strasburg will start the season opener official this morning:
Dusty confirmed what we've all known for a while now: Strasburg will start opening day.— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) March 26, 2017
Plan is for Stephen Strasburg to start Opening Day, Dusty said. As expected.— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) March 26, 2017