Passing the Test

If you are in any way like me and came of age in the 90’s or are younger and
happen to like retro video games then you will remember games such as
Castlevania, and if you haven’t played it stop reading this and go do so now.
Furthermore if you only have time for one Castlevania game it should be
Symphony of the Night. If you are still reading I am going to assume you have
played a Castlevania game and if the only one you have played was Castlevania
64 that you are a pathetic individual. Rebuilding the rails here the point is those
games were built around boss fights. Every level ended with a giant boss and
for Simon or Alucard or whoever the main character was each boss presented a
new challenge and had to be defeated in a unique manner.

Most of the Castlevania games, and all of
the good ones, came out in a time before AI and so the boss fights were
essentially giant puzzles. There was a pattern to how to win and the best
Castlevania games combined the platforming and action elements of the game
perfectly in its best boss fights, and every boss fight got more and more
difficult. Boss fights were always filled with frustration while trying to
figure out the pattern and once you did they still weren’t easy. There was
nothing better than the sense of relief at landing the killing blow with one
bar of health left. The worst thing about all these boss fights is that you
always had to do them again. Near the end of the game there was always a stage
that was nothing but the previous boss fights, and that is what Stephen
Strasburg overcame last evening.

All the issues that have troubled
Strasburg were on display last night. He had to deal with an umpire with an
inconsistent dancing amoeba strike zone, and error behind him, and a hit by
pitch that nicked the jersey of the Padres player. In other words Strasburg had
moments, like he has had before this season, but instead of giving in to the
moment and letting it own him he owned the night. Stephen Strasburg may not
have had his best stuff throwing only 68 of his 117 pitches for strikes, but he
never wavered, he never lost confidence, and as the bosses he has struggled
with came back to haunt him he defeated them all.  

Whether this is a turning point or not
has yet to be determined. Strasburg looked great and even cracked a smile once
mid-game. He got the ball back from the umpire or the catcher and threw the
ball. He didn’t take walks around the mound or hang his head or have any other
of the mound presence issues he has displayed before. Strasburg didn’t worry
about the defense or the umpire or how base runners reached base. He only
worried about Stephen Strasburg, and because of that he was able to overcome
all those things and dominate the Padres for eight solid innings of three hit
baseball. All in all a good night and a start that could get the Nationals Ace
on track.

Consider what the Nationals will be if
this is the beginning of a strong run for Strasburg. The Nationals are 3-6 in
games Strasburg has started this season and most people expected those numbers
to be reversed. If they were the Nats wouldn’t be done by a half game in the
division they would be up by multiple games. It is tough for a team to not have
their best pitcher pitching like their best pitcher, but the Nats have depth
and while Strasburg has taken his time to get himself right Jordan Zimmermann
has served as the Nationals Ace. Make no mistake if this is the beginning of
the return of the real Stephen Strasburg then the NL is in trouble and the
Nationals are about to be a much better team. For one night in San Diego
Strasburg met and defeated all his demons of 2013, and if he leaves them in the
past the 2013 season may turn out as expected after all.

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