After a relatively rough month of June in which he was (4-1) in five starts but had a 5.70 ERA, seven walks, 26 Ks, and a .267/.318/.492 line against in 30 innings, 30-year-old right-hander Stephen Strasburg ended the first half strong with 7 1⁄3 scoreless innings on the mound in a 3-1 win over the Miami Marlins in the nation’s capital last weekend.
Strasburg gave up just two hits and two walks in that appearance, striking out 14 of 27 hitters in a 110-pitch, 80-strike outing against the Fish.
That start left Washington’s ‘09 No. 1 overall pick with a (10-4) record after 18 starts in which he’d put up a 3.64 ERA, a 3.19 FIP, 29 walks (2.24 BB/9), 138 Ks (10.68 K/9) and .215/.273/.351 line against in 116 1⁄3 IP on the season.
“He’s been great,” Davey Martinez said when asked to assess the right-hander’s first-half of the season.
Stephen Strasburg, Disgusting 95mph Two Seamer. pic.twitter.com/vSnq1uepWD— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 12, 2019
“And I’ll say this, that over the winter he worked diligently every day, on gaining strength, on his mechanics, to get ready for the season, and this is what you get. I mean, he really put the time in. I was here with him a few times while he worked out, and he was getting after it.”
Strasburg told reporters after the win that he felt like he’d straightened out some of the stuff that was causing him problems in his previous outings.
“Just was able to kind of execute from the get-go,” he explained.
“Working on a couple things in the bullpen between starts. I felt like my changeup has kind of gotten away from me, and just tried to get back to basics.
“And it seemed to be much better tonight.”
Strasburg was sharp again last night, though the Phillies ran up his pitch count with a lot of deep at bats and 15 foul balls over the course of six innings in which he threw 111 pitches total, generating 15 swinging strikes (eight on the curve) and 20 called strikes (12 with the curve), working around seven hits and a walk for a scoreless outing in which the opposing team was 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position and all eight runners that reached while Strasburg was on the mound left on base.
Stephen Strasburg’s Line: (W, 11-4), 6.0 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 111 P, 70 S, 6/3 GO/FO.
“He was really good,” Martinez told reporters after what ended up a 4-0 win.
“His pitch count got up there a little bit, but he got big outs when he needed it,” the skipper added.
“When he keeps the ball down, I say this all the time, he’s very effective, all his pitches look the same, and he gets a lot of swings.
“Today he had a lot of swings and they fouled balls off. Those guys can hit, you know, but for the most part he kept the ball down all day.”
“They’re kind of a team that really battles you,” Strasburg said.
“Honestly, I thought the curveball wasn’t very good tonight,” he continued.
Stephen Strasburg, Filthy 82mph Curveball. pic.twitter.com/AHT60cpYgH— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 12, 2019
“I threw it down, but when I wasn’t trying to — but 10 days off, I can’t be too picky about it. I know I’m really good when I have a routine and unfortunately it’s something that everybody has to go through so I just tried to go out there and battle tonight.”
Asked what he’s learned about dealing with pitching after a long break, Strasburg told the reporters in Citizens Bank that you just have to get by with what you have each night.
“It’s just going with what you’ve got and it’s finding a way and not letting not executing the previous pitch affect the next one.”