Strasburg collecting strikeouts at record pace
Rookie first to total 20 or more K's in first two starts since 1971
CLEVELAND -- Just call him Strike Three Strasburg.Perhaps you expected this from a guy with a fastball in the triple-digits and a 12-to-6 breaking ball, but Stephen Strasburg has made the strikeout standard in his first two Major League starts. His collection of K's now stands at 22 after fanning eight Indians hitters in a 9-4 victory at Progressive Field on Sunday. Hey, it's early, but that's 22 strikeouts in only 12 1/3 innings pitched against the Pirates and Tribe, good for a stunning 16.06 strikeouts-per-nine-inning mark. "I'm just trying to execute pitches," Strasburg said after allowing a run on two hits with five walks and eight strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings Sunday. "I'm not worried about strikeouts. It's not always going to be that way. There will be nights when you rack 'em up, and nights when you have one or two. I'm just worried about making them swing the bats and put it in play." They haven't put it in play much against the 21-year-old Strasburg. In fact, he became just the sixth pitcher in history to strike out 20 or more batters over his first two Major League appearances, and the first in 39 years. He joined Cliff Melton (22, 1937 Giants), Karl Spooner (27, 1954 Dodgers), Gary Nolan (20, 1967 Reds), Tom Griffin (20, 1969 Astros) and J.R. Richard (20, 1971 Astros). Bob Feller had 20 strikeouts in his first two starts for the 1936 Indians, and Don Ferrarese had 21 in his first two starts for the 1956 Orioles, but both had pitched in relief beforehand. Two starts does not a career make, of course, but the strikeouts at this infant stage of Strasburg's career are coming at an even more rapid pace than he was accustomed to in past performances against lesser competitors. He struck out 326 batters in 206 1/3 innings pitched at San Diego State (14.3 K/9 IP) and 65 batters in 55 1/3 innings in the Minors (10.57 K/9 IP).
Racking up K'sStarting pitchers with 20+ strikeouts through their first two outings
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.