Stephen Strasburg made back-to-back starts against Miami back on June 27 and July 3rd, giving up seven hits and four earned runs in seven innings of work in Marlins Park, before tossing 7 1⁄3 scoreless in Nationals Park the next time out, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out 14 of 27 batters faced in a 110-pitch outing.
Talking about the difference in those two starts, and what was working the second time he faced the Nats’ divisional rivals, Strasburg said work he did between the outings paid off.
“Just was able to kind of execute from the get-go,” the 31-year-old right-hander 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.”
Those were his second and third starts of the season against the Fish, after he’d tossed a total of eight scoreless on 104 pitches April 21st, striking out 11 of the 27 batters he faced, so he entered the fourth outing against the Marlins in 2019 with a 1.61 ERA, four walks, 29 Ks, and a .143/.205/.182 line against in 22 1⁄3 IP.
In case you were wondering what all of Strasburg's 14Ks would look like in an overlay... pic.twitter.com/yCWSEGtCpZ— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 1, 2019
Strasburg also had an (11-0) record in his previous 11 starts against the Nationals’ divisional rivals, going back to 2015.
Strasburg gave up back-to-back, one-out singles in the top of the first on Saturday night, then got an inning-ending 1-6-3 on a grounder back to the mound and proceeded to retire the next 16 hitters, completing six scoreless on 76 pitches (58 strikes) and striking out 10 of the first 19 batters he faced.
A 17-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh, in which he picked up two more Ks, left him at 93 pitches total, with 19-straight set down, and 12 Ks from 22 batters, and he picked up two more in a 14-pitch, 1-2-3 eighth, retiring the side in order for 22-straight outs to end his outing and 14 strikeouts total (from 25 batters).
Stephen Strasburg, 14Ks in 35 seconds. pic.twitter.com/c2AWc7Sejy— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 1, 2019
Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 8.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 14 Ks, 107 P, 81 S, 6/1 GO/FO.
It was 6-0 after seven and a half, and the Nationals added a run in the eighth in a 7-0 win in which Strasburg earned his career-high 16th win (16-5, 3.47 ERA).
“He was really good,” Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez said. “Him and [catcher Kurt] Suzuki both executed their plan really well tonight and he just pounded the strike zone. Got ahead of hitters and worked all his pitches and like I said they executed their plan really, really well.”
Strasburg collected 26 swinging strikes with his 107 total pitches, 11 with his fastball, seven with his curve, and seven with his changeup (with one on his two-seamer), and finished the night with 21 total called strikes (14 with his curve, four with his four-seamer, and three with his two-seam fastball).
“Fastball command was really good,” Strasburg said, as quoted by MASN’s Byron Kerr.
“I was able to throw my curveball for strike when I wanted to. Changeup was pretty good as well.”
He was also pounding the zone with strikes.
“It’s the name of the game,” Strasburg said. “You go out there and make good pitches and the guys are able to put some runs up on the board. Just wanted to keep pounding away.”
“It’s tough because he can attack in multiple ways,” Martinez said. “Changeup, fastball, two-seam, four-seam, curveball and throw them all for strikes. He threw a 3-2 curveball a couple times for strikes, and just really good.”
“All his pitches, his changeup was really good, and his fastball,” Martinez added.
“I mean he threw fastballs today up to 96, so he was awesome, and congratulations to him I know he got his 16th win, that’s awesome, so we’ll keep him going.”
As for the fact that Strasburg is now 12-0 in his last 12 starts vs the Marlins?
“It’s kind of wild, it really is,” Martinez said.
“As a hitter, when I hit there were some guys where you saw the ball really well and you hit the ball really well off one particular guy, he’s got pretty much right now — like you said — Miami is that team for him and he does really well against them.”