Arizona Diamondbacks Own Stephen Strasburg This Season

Stephen Strasburg
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - AUGUST 03: Starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals is removed by manager Dave Martinez #4 during the fifth inning of the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 03, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Diamondbacks Own Stephen Strasburg This Season

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg is having yet another nice season in 2019. He has been giving the rest of the league fits, having one strong outing after another. The rest of the league, that is, except the Arizona Diamondbacks. In their two games against him this season, they have hit him hard. His most recent outing – Saturday night in Phoenix – was his worst of the season. What is amazing is not only that the Diamondbacks have hit him so well, but how much better they have done than the rest of the league.

Statistics: Stephen Strasburg — Batting Against

The first statistic that leaps off the page is opponent’s batting average. Five teams – the Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies, Miami Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Diego Padres – have hit less than .200 against him this season. Three – the Rockies, Marlins, and Dodgers – are below .150. Strasburg’s opponents this season, other than the Diamondbacks, have hit .208 against him. The Diamondbacks have hit .383.

Other hitting statistics have been noteworthy, as well. The Diamondbacks have 18 total hits against him. The Atlanta Braves have the same amount, but they’ve faced him one more time than the Diamondbacks and have appeared at the plate against him 29 more times. Per game, the Diamondbacks have nine hits against him. The next-highest is the Philadelphia Phillies, who have six and a half. The Braves have six.

Perhaps the biggest statistical change between the rest of the league and the Diamondbacks is home runs. The San Francisco Giants hit three the only time they faced him. Every team combined – except the Diamondbacks – has hit nine. The Diamondbacks have hit seven.

Stephen Strasburg Pitching Lines by Opponent

His pitching statistics are just as skewed. He has allowed nearly twice as many earned runs against the Diamondbacks – 15 – as he has against any other team (Braves, eight). It came in around half the time, too – 18 1/3 innings against the Braves vs. 9 2/3 innings against the Diamondbacks. Strasburg has allowed 60 earned runs all season – and exactly one fourth of them (15) came against the Diamondbacks.

This has had a significant impact on two key statistics. For the season, his ERA is 3.72. When taking the Diamondbacks out of the calculation, it is 2.99. Against the Diamondbacks, it is 13.97. His WHIP for the season is 1.080. When removing the Diamondbacks, is 1.002. Against the Diamondbacks, it is more than twice as high – 2.172.

How This Is Possible

The Diamondbacks pounced on the balls they hit without hesitation – like they knew exactly what was coming. On the Fox Sports Arizona telecast of the game, some suggested that either Strasburg is tipping his pitches or the Diamondbacks have figured out his pitch sequence. However, manager Torey Lovullo said both Saturday night and Sunday morning that he cannot explain his team’s success against Strasburg. “Sometimes things work in this game in a very mysterious way,” he said. He speculated further that “maybe (their) attack plan hits (him) perfectly, and our guys are disciplined and don’t come off of that.”

Regardless, Lovullo does not expect phone calls from the other managers in the National League East, because there is “no magic remedy” to a pitcher as good as Strasburg. Besides, as he put it, “very rarely do we share that type of information.” At any rate, if the two teams meet in the National League Wild Card game, do not expect Strasburg to start for his team, or the Nationals could easily bow out early from yet another postseason.

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