Last night Nationals’ Ballpark had an atmosphere that is usually reserved for September Pennant Races or October’s post-season.

But last night was a special night in Washington D.C. as Stephen Strasburg, the savior of the franchise, made his debut, And what a debut it was.

Strasburg struck out 14 while only surrendering two earned runs, both of which came off of Delwyn Young’s fourth inning home run. In seven innings of work he would throw 94 pitches and no walks–his final ERA was 2.57.

All night the Pittsburgh Pirates struggled to keep up with his fastball and it seemed each players’ knees buckled at the sight of Strasburg’s breaking ball.

All in all I couldn’t think of a better debut for the young pitcher. With all the baseball world watching and all the pressure on him he simply did what he loved to do, and that was pitch.

And to make sure that the young pitcher’s first start was a win Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn, and Josh Willingham all homered to help contribute to the 5-2 victory.

What does all this mean for the franchise?

In the short-term it could mean a run at the play-offs. Currently the Nats sit six games out of the National Leagues East and five and a half games out of the wild card. With such a long way to go those deficits are hardly insurmountable.

Also, it means that the Nationals might be buyers at the trade deadline and could grab a piece here or there to challenge the Braves and Phillies.

For the long term it gives high hopes for a city that hasn’t seen a championship in one of its four major pro sports in almost twenty years. With the drafting of Bryce Harper we could be seeing the makings of a budding powerhouse much like what happened in Tampa Bay that past couple of seasons.

Last night was as pressured packed as it’s ever been for the Nationals and the kid put it all on his back and blew everyone away.  Despite the Expos moving to our Nation’s Capital a few seasons ago, last night was the night that baseball returned to Washington D.C.

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