Once again, we find ourselves breaking new ground at Getting Blanked and informing our readership of all the cutting edge and innovative happenings from around Major League Baseball. As such, fine ladies and noble gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to relay the following bit of information: Stephen Strasburg is really, really good.
My apologies. I probably should have instructed you to sit down prior to suggesting such earth shattering observations.
Nonetheless, the Washington Nationals 23 year old, right handed starter has been incredible of late. So much so, that last night’s performance against the Tampa Bay Rays, in which Strasburg only allowed two runs over seven innings, giving up five hits and two walks, while striking out ten was described thusly by a popular Washington Nationals’ team blog:
There could be some sarcasm in the bold lettering there, but the point remains that Strasburg has spoiled us with his pitching to the point where we almost expect a new breed of excellence to be put on display in every single one of his performances. However, if we look a little bit deeper into last night’s game we see that Strasburg was doing remarkable things once again.
For instance, he induced 21 swinging strikes against the Rays. Of his 111 total pitches, 21 of them were swung at and missed. That’s 19% of his total pitches. Of those 111, 70 were strikes and 41 were called balls. That means that 30% of his strikes thrown last night were swung at and missed.
Even more remarkable than all of this is that of the ten strikeouts I mentioned earlier, all ten of them occurred on swinging strikes. Not one opposing batter was rung up looking. Strasburg was, in the parlance of our times, owning the Tampa Bay Rays.
He would strike guys out with change ups low:
And with fastballs high:
My favourite strike out of the night though belongs to Carlos Pena in the fifth, when Strasburg, working from the stretch with Desmond Jennings on base, got ahead in the count 0-2 on a fastball that was taken for strike one, then another challenge fastball that Pena couldn’t keep up with. Strasburg then danced around the strike zone, first with another fastball high in the zone that didn’t fool Pena, and then with back to back change ups that essentially called the Rays first baseman’s bluff and induced a swing and miss.
You might prefer watching home runs or stolen bases or amazing fielding plays. Personally speaking though, I most enjoy watching pitchers make batters look ridiculous. So, for me, Stephen Strasburg is the most fun player in baseball to watch right now. And in these terms, last night’s 21 swinging strike performance is his master work.
Update: Thanks to the marvelous work of Scott Lewis, we have all ten swinging strike outs from last night’s game. This may take a second to load.
And The Rest
Washington Nationals manager elevates the polemical discourse between himself and Joe Madddon of the Tampa Bay Rays. [Twitter]
The Colorado Rockies four man, 75 pitch limit rotation experiment isn’t reaping a harvest of rewards quite yet. [Baseball Musings]
MLB? More like NFL – No Fun League. [Twitter]
Chicago White Sox first baseman Adam Dunn does not play baseball quite like other people. [Old Time Family Baseball]
Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen has a special tonic to get over depressing losses: seven beers and a sleeping pill. [Palm Beach Post]
Michael Pineda should be ready to go for the New York Yankees by the time Spring Training rolls around. [The Star-Ledger]
St. Louis Cardinals staring pitcher Jake Westbrook is a changed man. [Viva El Birdos]
We prove that fun baseball things are fun on the latest Getting Blanked Show. Fun like homer-laden comebacks, illicit substance-coated baseball gloves and swaggering Tigers. Then we make fun of the Rockies, which isn’t even fun for us. [Getting Blanked]