Quick Hits: The Stephen Strasburg show makes a matinee performance Wednesday as the Nationals have a 4:35 ET start against the Royals. With help from Dan Braunstein and the rest of ESPN Stats & Info, here’s your viewing guide for Strasburg Mania IV.
Strasburg’s opponent on Wednesday is Brian Bannister, son of former No. 1 overall pick Floyd Bannister. The elder Bannister finished with 134 career wins, fourth most for a top overall pick.
Already with the record for most strikeouts (32) in a pitcher’s first three games, Strasburg looks to continue his record book assault. With one strikeout, he will tie Mark Prior, Gary Nolan and Hideo Nomo for fourth most through a pitcher’s first four games. He needs eight to tied Herb Score’s record of 40.
Opponents are just 1-38 against Strasburg in two-strike counts. Forty hitters have gotten to two strikes against Strasburg, and 32 have struck out.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Strasburg is the first pitcher in the modern era to have two 10-strikeout, no-walk games in his first three starts in the major leagues. Thus, if he did this in his fourth start, he’d be the first pitcher to do it in three of his first four starts.
Opponents have a 40.5 swing and miss percentage against Strasburg this month. Opponents have failed to make contact on 51 of the 126 swings they have taken against him. That is easily the highest among pitcher in June with Francisco Liriano ranked second at 32.2 pct.
Strasburg has more strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings than recently demoted teammate John Lannan has in 75 innings.
Today’s Trivia: Stephen Strasburg, Brian Bannister and Floyd Bannister all have one batter faced in common. Who is it?
Today’s Leaderboard: The Royals have the second fewest strikeouts in the majors behind only the White Sox, whom Strasburg fanned 10 times in his last start. The Royals’ lineup is stacked with contact hitters. The Royals’ offense has the lowest swing and miss pct in the majors at just 15.8.
Lowest Swing and Miss Pct, 2010 Season
Key Matchups: Stephen Strasburg will be the 1,150th pitcher that Jason Kendall has faced in his career. Always a tough player to strike out, that hasn’t changed in the catcher’s 15th season. Kendall has fanned just once per 11.0 plate appearances, which ranks eighth in the AL. Teammate Alberto Callaspo is fifth at one per 11.5 PA.
Manny Ramirez faces a former teammate in Joel Pineiro on Wednesday. In 42 career plate appearances against the Angels’ starter, Ramirez has hit .378 with four home runs. That’s the most homers Pineiro has allowed to any batter. However, Ramirez is just one for his last nine against Pineiro.
Trivia Answer: Of the 27 batters that Strasburg has faced, Omar Vizquel is one of just six who did not strike out once (he went 1-4). Vizquel is 0-2 against the younger Bannister and was 1-4 against the elder, but neither managed to strike him out.