Stephen Strasburg tossed six innings of two-run ball in a series-sweeping victory over the Blue Jays this afternoon and in the process became the first pitcher this season to crack 100 strikeouts.
Justin Verlander is next up with 95 strikeouts, so he’ll likely join Strasburg in the triple-digit club when he starts tomorrow against the Cubs.
As for Strasburg, he’s 8-1 with a 2.45 ERA and 100/20 K/BB ratio in 77 innings this season, allowing just five homers and a .213 opponents’ batting average through 13 starts. He’s now made 30 total starts for his career–12 before Tommy John surgery and 18 after–and Strasburg is 14-5 with a 2.50 ERA and 216/39 K/BB ratio in 169 innings.
During that time his 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings leads all pitchers with 25-plus starts and no one else has more than 10.0. And his 5.54 strikeouts per walk is the third-best in baseball behind only Cliff Lee at 6.81 and Roy Halladay at 6.27, with no other pitcher above 4.75. Oh, and he doesn’t turn 24 years old until next month.
The Diamondbacks have signed free agent left-hander Jorge De La Rosa to a minor league deal, per a team announcement on Sunday. The contract includes an invitation to spring training. Nick Piecoro of AZCentral.com adds that De La Rosa stands to make $2.25 million if he secures a spot on the major league roster, with up to $600,000 in incentives if he pitches out of the bullpen and up to $1 million in incentives if he pitches out of the starting rotation.
The 35-year-old is expected to compete for a bullpen role after spending the better part of a decade in the Rockies’ rotation. He capped a nine-year run with Colorado in 2016, finishing the year with a 5.51 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 over 134 innings. Despite his struggles out of the rotation, he found limited success in a three-game stint in the bullpen, striking out 10 of 26 batters and holding the opposition to just three hits and one earned run in eight innings.
The veteran lefty is set to join a bullpen comprised of right-handers Randall Delgado, Jake Barrett and Fernando Rodney, along with a number of unproven candidates on similar minor league contracts. His age and command issues may be off-putting, but the promise he showed as a reliever should give the Diamondbacks some upside as they attempt to redeem a league-worst bullpen in 2017.
Blue Jays’ third baseman Josh Donaldson is expected to miss up to three weeks with a right calf strain, reports John Lott. Donaldson reportedly felt some discomfort in his calf during sprinting drills on Friday and was diagnosed with what looked like a mild strain after undergoing an MRI on Saturday. According to Lott, the 31-year-old is on crutches for the next few days and will likely miss 2-3 weeks of spring training.
Donaldson had a similar scare at the start of the 2016 season, when he limped out of the batter’s box during the Blue Jays’ first regular season road trip with a right calf strain. He returned to DH two days later, however, and was back on the field in less than a week’s time. Blue Jays’ GM Ross Atkins told MLB.com’s Corey Long that the two calf injuries are unrelated, and expects that Donaldson will recover in similar fashion this spring — well before Opening Day comes around.