Nine up, nine down for a locked-in Strasburg (no no-no today)

It’s only been three innings, but this has already far and away been the most locked in Stephen Strasburg has looked all season.

Strasburg is through three innings, having retired all nine Cubs hitters he’s faced. He’s struck out five (four of which have been swinging) and allowed just one ball to be hit out of the infield.

After starting the game with three straight balls to Cubs leadoff hitter David DeJesus, 30 of Strasburg’s 35 pitches have been for strikes.

He’s been pounding the zone with his fastball and then working in a sharp curveball and biting changeup. The off-speed stuff has looked especially sharp today, and coupled with impressive fastball command, that makes for a tough combo.

When you can throw 95-98 mph, as Strasburg is today, and get your off-speed stuff over in any count, hitters will have some trouble.

It all started, obviously, with a 1-2-3 first inning, marking the first time this season that Strasburg has retired the side cleanly in the opening frame.

Because Strasburg has been aggressive in the zone, he’s been pretty efficient so far, throwing just 38 pitches. He had been averaging 16.1 pitches per frame coming into today’s outing.

Edwin Jackson, meanwhile, has matched Strasburg nearly pitch for pitch.

Jackson has allowed just a single baserunner through three innings. Ian Desmond is the only guy to reach today, on his double in the second inning.

Desmond now has 20 extra-base hits this season, most in the National League.

Update: After retiring the first 11 hitters he saw today, Strasburg allowed a single to Anthony Rizzo with two outs in the fourth.

He responded by striking out Alfonso Soriano for the second time today, giving him seven strikeouts on the afternoon.

We’re still scoreless in the fourth.

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