Stephen Strasburg allowed 4 hits in 6 innings while walking 3 and striking out 7 to win back-to-back starts for the first time since June 13. It's the first time Strasburg has allowed no runs in a game.
Extra impressive for the rookie is that he rebounded to such a strong effort after a shaky start. He threw 34 pitches in the 1st inning, which are the 2nd-most for him in one inning in his young career (He threw 37, also in the 1st inning, on July 3 vs the Mets).
Strasburg has struck out five or more batters and allowed three or fewer earned runs in all eight starts this season. He's tied with Fernando Valenzuela for the second most consecutive starts with 5+ K AND 3 or fewer ER to start a career since 1920.
Most consecutive starts to begin career in live-ball era (1920)
With 5+ strikeouts, 3 ER or fewer
He leaned on his strongest pitch on Friday night, throwing 69.5% of his fastballs for strikes, which was his best percentage in his last 4 starts. But he also caught the Florida Marlins off-guard early in the count. 41.7% of his first pitches were curveballs, which happens to be more than double his previous high in a start.
That balance of cheese and off-speed seemed to have Florida's hitters off balance all game long. Inside Edge tells us that Strasburg threw 37% of his pitches at the inside of the plate (32% before Friday). That may have opened up the outside of the dish. Hitters were 2-14 (.143) with 6 strikeouts against him on pitches middle and away.
So what can stop this kid? Keep an eye at his inning count this season. Strasburg will be limited to 160 innings in 2010. With six innings pitched Friday, Strasburg is now up to 104 this season (55.1 in the minors, 48.2 with the Nationals).