Matchup 4/11: Strasburg vs. Santana
Last Start: On Opening Day in Chicago, Strasburg threw seven dominating innings against the Cubs, striking out five. He averaged 95.32 mph with his fastball and touched as high as 98 mph just once. Stephen mixed in 19 curveballs(79-82 mph) and seven changeups(88-90 mph).
Scouting Report: The new “Big Train” has a dominating fastball that touches 100 mph. His 4-seam fastball runs like crazy towards his arm side, while his 2-seamer adds a little sink. Strasburg’s second pitch is a snapping curveball he commands well. To complete his repertoire, Stephen deals a changeup that dives onto home plate. His control is phenomenal, especially for a pitcher that shows so much velocity. Strasburg has a freshly repaired arm and makes pitching look easy.
Johan Santana – LHP – Mets
Last Start: Santana opened the season at Citi Field last week, and tossed five impressive innings against Los Bravos. Johan’s fastball averaged just 87.74 mph and he only touched 90 mph one time. He spun plenty of sliders(77-82 mph) and his signature pitch, the changeup(74-81 mph), looked as filthy as ever. If Santana is truly healthy after missing 2011 due to shoulder surgery, and not pitching in pain, I expect him to increase his velocities as the season progresses. According to fangraphs.com, Santana averaged just 89.4 mph in 2010, when he was still one of the best pitchers in the game, so he doesn’t necessarily need big gun readings to be successful.
Scouting Report: Santana brings three excellent pitches to the mound. He has a hard fastball in the upper-80s which he can spot on both sides of the plate. His changeup is known as one of the best pitches in the game; a soft pitch, floating, then sinking under bats as it reaches the plate. Santana’s third pitch is his slider, which gets sharp, late, sweeping action. Santana does not bother to experiment with any other offerings.