Nationals hurler Stephen Strasburg became the new franchise strikeout leader on Friday, surpassing former Expos starter Steve Rogers’ record with his 1,622nd career strikeout against the Mets.
Strasburg entered the series with 1,619 career whiffs under his belt, needing just two to tie the record and three to break it. He found an opportune moment to do so when, after retiring both Jeff McNeil and J.D. Davis in the first and second innings, he induced another three-pitch swinging strikeout from Todd Frazier in the third:
At the outset of Friday’s game, Rogers’ previous strikeout record had remained unchallenged for 34 years. He wrapped his 13-year career in an Expos’ uniform in 1985, striking out the Padres’ Steve Garvey in the first inning of his final start for strikeout no. 1,621. (For those who may feel it’s a bit generous to lump in the Expos’ team records with those of the Nationals, the player who previously tallied the most career strikeouts in a Nationals’ uniform was Jordan Zimmerman with 903 — a mark long-since improved by Strasburg.)
Following his record-setting performance in the third inning, Strasburg continued to improve his career totals. He bounced back from a disastrous, three-run inning in the fourth and struck out newly-minted Met Joe Panik, Marcus Stroman, and J.D. Davis, bringing his numbers up to 1,625 strikeouts overall. It’s an impressive addition to an already-solid campaign, one in which the 31-year-old righty carries a 3.80 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, 10.7 SO/9, and 4.0 fWAR through 149 1/3 innings.