That’s according to Nationals’ TV analyst Rob Dibble, who noted that in Strasburg’s fourth start, Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals, Strasburg consistently worked out of jams despite allowing nine hits in six innings of work (while fanning nine).
Strasburg threw 95 pitches, 75 for strikes, without walking a batter. Dibble noted that the Royals are a contact-hitting team, and they basically stuck their bats out for many of their hits Wednesday. They scored in the fifth on three consecutive two-out hits.
After the game, Dibble and fellow MASN TV analyst Ray Knight got into a bit of a verbal sparring match on the air, with Knight suggesting that Strasburg got into trouble by throwing too many strikes — including good pitches on 0-2 counts that the Royals fought off for hits. Dibble argued there’s no such thing as throwing too many strikes when you throw in the high 90s. Watch the dispute here.
The Nationals were hurt by having a runner, Roger Bernadina, thrown out at home on a questionable umpiring call that would have tied the game.
Then also failed to score in the fifth after a first-and-third, nobody out situation, when down 1-0, manager Jim Riggleman elected to let Strasburg bat with two outs and men on second and third, despite Strasburg having already thrown more than 80 pitches on a mid-90 degree day (late afternoon start time).
Riggleman later said if Strasburg’s position had come up with one out, he would have pinch-hit for him, but with two outs he thought the chances of scoring were lessened and he wanted to keep Strasburg in the game.
Strasburg, who earlier in the game collected his first major league hit, grounded out to end the threat. (Yes, there is video of that too.)
Strasburg now has 41 Ks in his first four starts, another major-league record. Watch video of him mowing down the Royals here.
The winning pitcher, by the way, in KC’s 1-0 game, was Applegate’s Brian Bannister, the focus of a cover story in USA TODAY on Tuesday about his use of advanced metrics in trying to improve his pitching.
Will Strasburg be projected as the No. 1 pick in next year’s I-75 League draft? Stay tuned for our early Mock Draft predictions coming later this week.
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