The Cubs will open the 2012 season against Stephen Strasburg, Nationals manager Davey Johnson announced Wednesday. Strasburg, 23, has only thrown 92 innings at the major-league level, but in those he has a 2.54 ERA and a 6.11 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He's never faced the Cubs in 17 career starts.
In his career, Strasburg's fastball has averaged a velocity of just under 97 miles per hour. For reference, his fastball is, on average, 1.7 miles per hour faster than the average Justin Verlander fastball and 3.4 miles per hour faster than Matt Garza's heater, per Fangraphs. And he knows how to use that pitch -- only Cliff Lee and knuckleballer R.A. Dickey have had more success with their fastballs since 2010 than Strasburg.
Johnson also announced that lefty Gio Gonzalez will start the second game of Washington's three-game set to open the season at Wrigley Field. The third game will go to either Edwin Jackson or Jordan Zimmermann.