Strasburg & Harper a dominant combo at their best

This was the Stephen Strasburg circa 2010, the one we saw prior to his sitting out a playoff series and Tommy John surgery and a multitude of other injuries.

Strasburg looked like every bit the ace Tuesday night in the Washington Nationals' win over the Philadelphia Phillies, striking out 14 in eight scoreless innings in which he allowed one hit.

According to Elias Sports Bureau research, Strasburg is the fourth pitcher since 1900 to throw a no-hitter or one-hitter against the Phillies with 14 or more strikeouts. The others are Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan and Warren Spahn.

The 14 strikeouts matched Strasburg's career high, which came in his first career start against the Pirates. He and Bill Stoneman are the only Nationals/Expos pitchers to strike out at least 14 hitters twice.

Simply Koufaxian

Strasburg became the first pitcher with 14 strikeouts, one walk or fewer, and one hit or fewer without allowing a run in a September start since Sandy Koufax’s perfect game against the Cubs in 1965.

The Phillies missed on 30 of their 55 swings against Strasburg. The 55 percent miss rate was the highest by a pitcher in any start of at least 100 pitches within the past 10 seasons.

How he won

Strasburg threw 21 percent changeups before two strikes (his highest percentage in a game this season). That kept hitters guessing in two-strike counts. Eight of his strikeouts came with his fastball (all swinging). Strasburg also got hitters to chase with two strikes. He threw 24 pitches out of the strike zone, eight of which resulted in strikeouts.

Bryce Harper's power display

Bryce Harper showed as much power with his bat as Strasburg did with his arm, hitting two home runs. It was the second straight Strasburg start in which Harper had a multi-homer game and Strasburg had at least 10 strikeouts in the game. They hadn't combined to do that in the first 88 games in which they both played.

Harper’s 39 home runs are tied for fourth-most in franchise history. The club record is 46 by Alfonso Soriano in 2006.

According to Elias research, Harper’s 94 career home runs are the fifth-most by a player before his 23rd birthday. That is one behind Alex Rodriguez for fourth and 21 behind Mel Ott for first.

Harper has five multi-homer games this season. The only players with more in a season at age 22 or younger are Juan Gonzalez (seven in 1992) and Eddie Mathews (six in 1953 and 1954).

What could have been

The Nationals face an uphill climb in trying to catch the New York Mets for the National League East lead. They gained a game when the Mets' eight-game winning streak was snapped by the Miami Marlins.

If the Nationals don’t make the playoffs, they’ll lament the time that Strasburg missed. Strasburg had two stints on the disabled list this season. During the two, the Nationals were a combined 20-29. They are 54-41 with him healthy.