Matt Strahm Is Keeping Major League Hitters Guessing

Credit: USA Today Sports

Credit: AP Photo

After a rough first start, Matt Strahm has been fantastic for the San Diego Padres in 2019. The left-handed pitcher is entirely healthy after some knee issues and eager to show what he can do.

The San Diego Padres have a youthful staff. At 27, Matt Strahm is the wily old veteran.

With only six free passes in his first 39 innings pitched, Strahm has proved that he pounds the strike zone. The Padres have a young rotation who need to get quick outs and not stress the bullpen. That has been the goal, but it hasn’t been accomplished so far in 2019 by many. Strahm is the only starting pitcher to go eight innings this season. He takes pride in that.

There were some concerns about a knee that was operated on in 2017, but Matt Strahm reports that he is at full strength. He is fully able to workout in between starts and is 100 percent. “Everything is good. Feeling great,” Strahm reports to EVT. There are no longer any concerns about his workout in between starts. Strahm considers himself fully recovered from his knee issue. Great news to hear as he can now focus on just pitching.

The changeup is a pitch that has been very successful for the left-hander in recent starts. It has produced a 40 percent swing and miss rate in his last few starts. “It is a pitch I have always thrown. It just has never gotten its respect so to speak. Never really had to use it. I would always just spin the ball and use my fastball. It is a pitch I can now use in the starting role to mix things up,” Strahm said. The pitcher is very comfortable throwing all four of his pitches for strikes. That is what makes his such a valuable starter. He can give many different looks to batters, even the third time around a lineup. “I don’t want to create a pattern. Keep them guessing,” Strahm said. Depending on what the scouting report calls for is usually how he attacks a hitter. There is a lot to admire about the way he pitches.

With the ability to strikeout every batter, Strahm has learned to adjust over the years. He prefers to pound the zone and let his defense work for him. “The defense they set up around us tells me that I just need to let them (defense) play. You have Gold Gloves everywhere. You don’t have to worry about striking people out. The outfield is phenomenal as well. They can run the ball down. I just need to let the other eight guys play,” Strahm admits. It is a process and one that often takes time. He is comfortable in letting guys put the ball in play, and that is an excellent sign for the growth of Matt Strahm as a pitcher.

With so much uncertainty with the Padres future in regards to the rotation, Matt Strahm is prepared to do whatever is needed. If the team needs him in the bullpen eventually, he is more than willing. “I will do whatever this team needs me to do. Being in the starting role is nice…. but I can get into my routine again (if needed). I will do whatever I need to do,” Strahm said. Like most of the Padres in the locker room, he will do whatever needed of the team. One way or another, Matt Strahm will be a vital part of the future.

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