Stephen Strasburg was the best player on the field during the Washington Nationals’ 13-4 victory against the Atlanta Braves on Thursday. And for this night anyway, it had more to do with his bat than his $175-million arm.
Don’t get us wrong. The 30-year-old right-hander was his usual effective self on the pitching mound, racking up seven strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings of three-run ball en route to his NL-leading 12th win.
But it was Strasburg’s plate appearances that stole the show as he put up production rarely seen from a pitcher.
Historic third inning
Strasburg’s big offensive night started in the Nationals’ huge eight-run third inning.
Strasburg led off the inning with a single and then came around to score on Adam Eaton’s triple.
Later in the frame, he capped the scoring by launching a three-run home run that traveled 420 feet in the left field seats at SunTrust Park.
If you’ve been paying attention to Nationals game lately, you know that means Strasburg had to show off some dugout dance moves to celebrate.
He did not disappoint.
*Hears Old Town Road for the millionth time*— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) July 19, 2019
There was plenty to celebrate, too.
Strasburg’s two-hit inning was a first in Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos franchise history.
Good stat from Nationals PR/@EliasSports: No pitcher in Nationals/Expos franchise history has had two hits in an inning until Stephen Strasburg did so in the third tonight.— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) July 19, 2019
The home run was Strasburg’s fourth in 10 seasons and his first since 2017.
But wait ... there’s more
The Nationals set the table for Strasburg again in the fifth inning, putting two runners on. Strasburg knocked both home with another single, giving him three hits and five RBIs total.
The latter had also never been done by a Nationals/Expos pitcher.
Stephen Strasburg's 5 RBI are the most by any pitcher in a game in Nationals/Expos franchise history.— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) July 19, 2019
When you factor in the pitching side, Strasburg’s all-around game reaches another level of awesome.
According to Stats by Stats, there have been only two other all-around games like it since the RBI became an official stat.
Stephen Strasburg of the @Nationals had 3 hits and 5 RBI at the plate and 7 strikeouts on the mound tonight.— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) July 19, 2019
Since RBI became official in 1920, the only other players to match those numbers in a game: Wes Ferrell on 8/12/1936 and Micah Owings on 8/18/2007.#OnePursuit
The Braves knew they would have a difficult assignment against Strasburg on the hill. We’re sure they weren’t anticipating this offensive breakout.
Strasburg entered Thursday’s game with three total hits in his first 46 plate appearances this season. He’s not a major offensive threat by any means, but as he showed on Thursday, he’s capable of doing damage.
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