Happy Strasburg-a-versary

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Lots of promising young guys make their major league debut every year, but there aren’t many like Stephen Strasburg’s, both in anticipation and in actual payoff.  It was a year ago tonight that Strasburg made his, and I’m still in awe over it.

He struck out 14 Pirates batters without issuing a walk.  His last pitch of the night — his 94th — was clocked at 98 MPH. He hit 99 MPH multiple times.  Between the movement of his fastball and that insane, multi-plane slider thing he threw, Pittsburgh never had a chance. With that heat, though, his changeup looked to be like a future killer, much the way Johan Santana and Tim Lincecum have made their bones off of their changeups despite having so much else going for them. Strasburg showed that night — and again, over the course of the handful of starts he got before his ligaments got the better of him — that he was the total package.

Strasburg’s rehab is reportedly going well. He may see some real action late this season and should, barring any setbacks, be ready for regular action to kick off next year.  I don’t know what we’ll see.  I hope we see something as close to the pre-surgery Strasburg as is medically possible, though I worry we won’t.

But even if we don’t, we’ll still have those few weeks of 2010 when some of the most electric stuff every unleashed by a rookie pitcher made its way into our living rooms.

Happy Strasburg-a-versary.

Cardinals tab Miles Mikolas for Opening Day start

Miles Mikolas
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The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.

The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.

Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.