This afternoon’s Stephen Strasburg-Johan Santana matchup was every bit as fun to watch as it looked on paper.
Santana was very solid, albeit in another short outing, throwing five innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts despite averaging just 88.1 miles per hour with his fastball.
Strasburg was very shaky early on, but quickly got on track and overpowered the Mets with nine strikeouts in six shutout, two-hit innings. And for the first time as a big leaguer he was allowed to go past 100 pitches, throwing 108, as the Nationals went on to win 4-0.
Strasburg’s career was temporarily derailed by Tommy John elbow surgery, but he’s picked up right where he left off and has now thrown 37 innings with a 1.21 ERA since returning late last season. His average fastball today was 94.8 miles per hour and his changeup had ridiculous movement.
This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
Athletics right-hander Jharel Cotton will undergo Tommy John surgery, per an announcement on Saturday. Cotton initially experienced some elbow soreness during a Cactus League start earlier this week and was officially diagnosed with a strained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor muscle on Thursday. He’ll be out of commission until 2019 at the earliest.
This isn’t the first time Cotton has dealt with elbow issues. According to MLB.com’s Jane Lee, he had screws inserted in his right elbow after sustaining a stress fracture in 2013 and suffered some minor elbow discomfort again last fall. Prior to his diagnosis, the 26-year-old was poised for his third run with the A’s in 2018. He pitched his first full season with the club in 2017, turning in a 5.58 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 24 starts and 129 innings.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle adds that the team is open to adding pitching depth this spring, though they’ll wait to see if the price goes down on some free agents first. Barring that, right-handed long reliever Andrew Triggs could be tabbed to fill the fifth spot in the rotation.