Fortunately for almost no one, Stephen Strasburg has a new pitch
Stephen Strasburg faced a mostly-real Braves lineup yesterday, as the Uptons, Freddie Freeman, and Jason Heyward hit against him in a spring training game, among others.
All told, Strasburg punched out the mighty Braves offense on 15 pitches through two innings, with a heater that struck 96 mph. Afterward, the Nats pulled him out, wrapped him back in his bubblewrap and put him down for a nap.
But in that time, a more horrifying secret revealed itself: Strasburg, the plenty dangerous young Nationals ace, has a new weapon. And that weapon is a slider.
Strasburg cut up the Phillies' offense in 2013, averaging just over 11 SO/9 against them and an ERA that I'm warning you now you don't even want to look at. Ready? 0.39. In his career, that comes to 10.1 SO/9 and a 2.65 ERA vs. the Phillies.
And that was just with his four seamer, two seamer, change up, and curve. Now he's throwing a fifth pitch, and naturally, it's already working well, according to the Washington Post:
"Strasburg threw two sliders to B.J. Upton; one was called a strike and the other got him a strikeout on a 3-2 pitch. Strasburg is using this spring to gauge hitters’s reactions to his new pitch."
"'They’ve never seen it before, so I want it to look as much like a fastball as possible,' he said. 'If I get a little bit of movement, that’s all that I’m looking for. Like I said, I’m not gonna dump my other offspeed pitches for it, it’s just gonna be something to keep them from cheating to the fastball as much.'"
So, that's something else to look forward to for a team that sees Strasburg three to five times a year.