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]

Comments (23)

  1. I’m having trouble following the Maddon/Davey war of words, but did Maddon really call Davey’s actions “insider trading” and “bush league”?

    I know you’re not supposed to criticize Maddon on this site (or implicitly praise anyone “old school” like Davey), but wouldn’t Maddon do the same thing? Wouldn’t that fall into the extra 2%?

    • Please refrain from being a dick.

      • Apart from the dig at new school / old school, that was a legitimate question.

        • No, your question was pretty dick-ish.

          But i think the answer to your question is that Yes, they are both acting like big fucking babies and they need to just move on and get back to being ML managers.

          • Am I the only one that has noticed this blog goes out of its way, often needlessly, to criticize anything that can be labeled as “old school”?

            Back to the point, as a fan and as a player I would want my manager to check the opposing pitcher’s glove.

          • We addressed it on yesterday’s show.

            On the whole, I couldn’t care less if something was old school or new school, as long as it has reason/evidence to back it up.

        • Zing!
          Isn’t that the best part of Joe Maddon though? He would TOTALLY do the same thing and he knows it! But that doesn’t mean he’s not gonna stand behind his players. Plus, he got to call another manager a p**sy without getting into trouble. That, my friend, is the extra 2%.

          • Did he say pussy? If so, that trumps “weird wuss” times about 1,000,000.

          • If I had to pick sides I’m with Maddon on this one. When I heard Johnson say that Peralta played for him so he knew to check his glove…..why would anyone want to go to the Nationals now…especially if I were a free agent looking to sign elsewhere next year, I would keep my distance from him. This is the sort of thing that can disrupt a clubhouse in my opinion…….especially since he waited until the first two Nats struck out. It’s no secret when players switch team they devulge secrets about a pitcher or other batters, but this is the manager using inside information and now Peralta is going to suffer the harsh suspension of ten games. We don’t know if Maddon would do the same thing. I’ve been watching baseball religiously for 30 years and this is the first instance I can recall where a manager flat out said ‘Cause he played for me and I know that’s what he does”. Maddon is more upset at Johnson being a bit of rat more then the rule itself.

  2. Anyone noticed Strasburg’ tooth to gum ratio? THAT’S bush league.

  3. According to the Nats play by play guy (while in Toronto), Davey Johnson invented the shift and was doing it a long time before it became all cool and hip.

    • Isn’t it called the “Ted Williams Shift” because it was used (whether for the first time or not is irrelevant) against Ted Williams? Doesn’t that entirely discredit that statement?

      Even so, I would rather have blatantly incorrect statements from my broadcasters than whatever comes out of Buck/Tabby.

  4. I know its probably a pretty thankless job, especially after games like yesterday, but any thoughts of bringing back day after game recaps? They were pretty awesome…

  5. I love this website, check it probably far too regularly while at work, but I do notice that the attitude from the authors to the commentators has been fairly negative lately.

    Just an observation. Keep up the good work.

  6. “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.”

    Just trying to follow your math here, but are swinging strikes only called such if the pitch swung at would have been called for a strike? To put it more clearly, if a player swings at a pitch in the dirt is that not a swinging strike? It just seemed like a bit of a leap to me to assume that “30% of his strikes thrown last night were swung at and missed” when even that (totally awesome) strikeout montage shows guys striking out on obvious balls.

    Again, it may be my own lack of understanding about how such things are counted but I just thought I’d put that out there. Not to diminish Strasburg’s considerable awesomeness, but just for the sake of my own understanding.

    • Disregard, as soon as I read my own post I caught my own mistake. Obviously once they swing at it it goes on the strike tally. I initially read it as how the pitches would have been called. So yeah I’m dumb and Strasburg is all kinds of awesome.

  7. Strasburg’s good, but he doesn’t have ace stuff like Hendy Alvarez.

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