This is exactly what the Nationals hoped for when they used the first pick of the 2009 MLB Draft on Stephen Strasburg. All postseason the San Diego native delivered. And after the first World Series in franchise history, Strasburg was named Most Valuable Player.
Washington beat Houston 6-2 in Game 7, capping a series where every game was won by the road team.
"It's just surreal," Strasburg after being presented the World Series MVP trophy on the Fox broadcast. "To be able to do it with this group of guys is just something special. We didn't quit. I love every one of those guys. It took all of us to do it."
Strasburg was responsible for two of those victories. He helped the Nats take a 2-0 series lead, giving up two earned runs in six innings with seven strikeouts. Then, facing elimination on Tuesday, Strasburg went 8.1 innings, striking out seven and allowing two runs in Washington's 7-2 Game 6 win over the Astros.
"For me it's going out there and just emptying the tank and giving everything I possibly have," Strasburg said after Game 6 on the Fox TV broadcast. "That's something I can live with. I can live with the results as long as I can do that. It was a mental grind out there, especially after the first. You just gotta keep fighting."
Strasburg became the second starting pitcher ever to log five wins in a single postseason, joining Randy Johnson in 2001. He now has a career postseason ERA of 1.46 over 55.1 innings, with 71 strikeouts along the way.
He also joins Kawhi Leonard as former San Diego State athletes to win postseason MVP awards in the same year, something no program had ever previously accomplished.
For the first time in history, out of the four major professional leagues, Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Strasburg are the first players from the same university to be named postseason MVP in the same season. #GoAztecs pic.twitter.com/EyOT7blwDi
— GoAztecs (@GoAztecs) October 31, 2019
Now the question is whether the West Hills grad has thrown his last pitch for the Nationals. He can opt out of his contract and become a free agent. After the postseason he's had, he could land a very lucrative contract. His plans are not yet known, but there is a team in his hometown in search of top flight starting pitchers this offseason.
Strasburg would fit that bill. But for now he's enjoying a championship, MVP honors, and the realization of the scintillating potential he brought to him from SDSU to the Nationals.