When the Nationals sent Stephen Strasburg to the minors in spring training, they were quick to point out Strasburg's issues while pitching from the stretch. In an effort to hold runners, Strasburg was speeding up his delivery, robbing his fastball of some velocity with men on base.
Slowing Strasburg's delivery down was a major focus of the Nationals' work with him in the minors. But while he's improved, the numbers would suggest he's not there yet.
With the bases empty, Strasburg has a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 7.17, and hitters are batting just .157 against him. With men on base, the ratio drops to 3.60, and the opposing batting average climbs to .296. Strasburg has been at his worst with a man on first, allowing a .385 average and .852 OPS.
Now, a 3.60 strikeout-to-walk ratio is still respectable, though certainly not elite. But it's good to get a reminder that Strasburg isn't a finished product every now and then.
The rookie makes his eighth major-league start tonight in Miami against the Florida Marlins; the team is anticipating around 25,000 fans for tonight's game. That would be the first time Strasburg has pitched in front of less than 30,000 people, but it's still a larger-than-usual crowd for the Marlins.
First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. on MASN2 and MASN2 HD.