One day after Stephen Strasburg's goose-bump-fest of a debut, it's amazing how much more there is to talk about. So here goes:StrasburgAnd that tune was "It's Not Unusual," by Tom (Not To Be Confused With Garrett) Jones. It's not unusual, huh? Oh yes it is. I'm still trying to digest what I saw Tuesday. But here come some more tidbits to demonstrate just how unusual Strasburg's debut truly was: • Want just a partial list of active pitchers who have never, ever struck out 14 in a game -- any game -- in their careers? OK, here you go: CC Sabathia, Roy Oswalt, Josh Beckett, Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Johnson, Felix Hernandez, Cliff Lee, Matt Cain, Jon Lester, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Dan Haren, Brandon Webb and Andy Pettitte. I could go on, but let's just say it's a lonnnnng list. And this guy whiffed 14 in the first game of his career. Really. • It's easy to look at this performance and say, "Yeah, but it was only the Pirates." And of course, you'd be right. This was an offense that is hitting .236 for the season -- as a team. So it wasn't like striking out 14 against the Yankees. I concede that point. Nevertheless, it's not like everybody goes out and whiffs 14 when the Pirates come to town. Over the last seven seasons -- a span of over 1,000 games -- you know how many other pitchers have punched out 14 Pirates or more? Exactly one -- Tim Lincecum, in a 15-strikeout game last July. And the only other pitchers to do it in this millennium were Randy Johnson (in 2001) and Mark Prior (in 2003). • Was this The Greatest Pitching Debut Ever? Well, it was sure the greatest I've ever witnessed. But I admit to missing the debuts of approximately 1.8 trillion other pitchers in my lifetime. So I defer to the wisdom of SABR's Trent McCotter, who argues that The Greatest Pitching Debut Ever was probably unfurled by the great Juan Marichal -- a complete-game 12-strikeout, one-walk, one-hitter against the Phillies on July 19, 1960. He was perfect for 6 1/3 and had a no-hitter for 7 2/3 in that one. And Marichal's game score (96) blows away Strasburg's (75). Nevertheless, am I allowed to point out that attendance at Marichal's game was a whopping 13,275, that there wasn't a TV camera in the house and nobody I know of had a countdown clock running -- except possibly for Marichal's mom? But that's unconfirmed. • McCotter and Retrosheet founder Dave Smith also report that Strasburg was just the second pitcher in history to strike out seven consecutive hitters in his big-league debut -- and the first ever to whiff the last seven he faced. He ties Sammy Stewart, who blew away seven in a row for the Orioles on Sept. 1, 1978. For the record, they were the fifth through 11th hitters Stewart faced that day. Two NL pitchers once struck out six in a row in their debuts -- Karl Spooner (Sept. 22, 1954) and Pete Richert (April 12, 1962). But the countdown clocks weren't running that day, either. • My favorite, awesome Elias Sports Bureau tidbit from this game: Nolan Ryan had exactly one game in his entire career with at least 14 strikeouts and zero walks -- and it came in his 698th start! More gems like this one can be located in the must-read Elias Says column. • Finally, the Nationals drew 40,315 paying customers for this game. Their highest previous attendance on any Tuesday this season: 17,098, on May 4, against the Braves. Cha-ching!
STRIKE ONE -- TOM JONES AND STRASBURG DEPT.During one of those goofy breaks in the action at Nationals Park on Stephen Strasburg Day (aka Tuesday), they played a song over the PA system that serves as your basic excuse to show fans on the giant video screen in various states of mug-for-the-camera knuckleheadedness.
STRIKE TWO -- MORE STRASBURGONOMYMore stuff I won't forget from Tuesday night:
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