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.
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According to MLB.com associate reporter Jarrid Denney, right-hander Michael Pineda threw off a mound Wednesday morning at Target Field for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Pineda was signed to a two-year, $10 million free agent contract this winter by the Twins, who are probably more focused on what he might be able to do in 2019 rather than 2018.
He had the reconstructive elbow surgery last July 18, so he won’t be an option for the Minnesota rotation until probably late August or September of this year. Still, that deal seems like a nice gamble given the price point and the possibility that he will regain his form as a No. 2 or No. 3 starter. That he’s making steady progress in his rehab makes the situation all the more encouraging.
Pineda, 29, holds a 4.05 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 687 strikeouts in 680 career major league innings.