After taking a loss in back-to-back outings in May, and losing three of his first nine starts in 2019, 31-year-old Washington Nationals’ righty Stephen Strasburg had been on quite a run going into last night’s matchup against the Colorado Rockies in the nation’s capital.
In eleven turns in the rotation after the losses in May, the 2009 No. 1 overall pick was (9-1) with a 3.44 ERA, 16 walks, 76 Ks, and a .237/.290/.365 line against 70 2⁄3 innings pitched.
“He’s been great,” manager Davey Martinez said after Strasburg’s final start in the first half back on July 3rd. “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.”
Stephen Strasburg, Disappearing 87mph Changeup. pic.twitter.com/iCXQFBAc4o— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 23, 2019
Strasburg took a five-start unbeaten streak into last night’s matchup, over which he was (5-0) with a 2.84 ERA, eight walks, 36 Ks, and a .238/.295/.328 line against in 31 2⁄3 IP.
He tossed three scoreless to start, striking out six of the first 12 batters he faced on a total of 56 pitches.
Stephen Strasburg, 94mph Fastball and 87mph Changeup, Overlay.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 24, 2019
Strasburg was up to 91 pitches (with 7 Ks from 20 batters) after adding a strikeout in a 20-pitch fifth, and 107 pitches (with 8 Ks from 23 batters) after he set the Rockies down in order in the 16-pitch sixth which ended his outing.
Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 Ks, 107 P, 64 S, 5/3 GO/FO.
“He was good. Real good,” Martinez said after the Nationals’ 11-1 win.
After Strasburg’s hitting (3 for 3, 3-run HR, 5 RBIs) last time out overshadowed his work on the mound, he went 1 for 2 against the Rockies.
“I’m really impressed,” his manager said, “seriously, tomorrow he’ll be a pinch hitter.”
Strasburg went at least six innings for the 17th time in 21 starts this season. What does that mean to the Nationals, as a team, to have that reliable sort of performance every five days?
Stephen Strasburg, Bowel-locking 82mph Curveball. pic.twitter.com/6X6UQbkgyG— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 23, 2019
“It’s huge and like I said,” Martinez explained, “he’s done it — a little bit of struggles ... but the Colorado team, they swing the bats, they’re good hitters, but he was good. That last inning he didn’t look like he was struggling much, still had a lot in the tank, but he got up there to 105+ pitches, and to me that’s plenty.”
Strasburg finished the night (13-4) in 21 starts, with a 3.37 ERA, a 3.00 FIP, 34 walks (2.29 BB/9), and 159 Ks (10.71 K/9) in 133 2⁄3 IP.
Does he have a shot at 20 wins by the end of this season? “I’m looking at his next start,” Martinez said.