“He’s been a godsend”: Inside Matt Strahm’s magical run

Phillies Matt Strahm
Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Matt Strahm works against the Toronto Blue Jays during the seventh inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023, in Toronto. (Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press via AP)

Flashback to Opening Day, March 29th. The division rival Atlanta Braves came to town. Zack Wheeler threw 6 shutout inning and the Phillies had a 2-run lead. That’s until Matt Strahm entered the game in the 7th.

Three hits, including back-to-back doubles, later the Braves had tied things up. Matt Strahm was removed with 1 out in favor of Jeff Hoffman.

That 1 game now sits as an outlier in Matt Strahm’s season. Since that inning, Strahm has given up 0 earned runs.

The rise off Matt Strahm

In Wednesday night’s game against the Rangers, Matt Strahm was again called into the game in a crucial situation. Taijuan Walker‘s day was finished after allowing his 3rd run of the day. The Rangers still had runners on 1st and 3rd and could get back into the game with 1 swing. Strahm got a quick lineout to end it.

He stayed in the game for the 6th inning. While he allowed his 2nd walk of the year, he immediately induced a double play. A flyout to center later and he pushed his scoreless inning streak to over 20 innings.

Aaron Nola Matt Strahm
Matt and Megan Strahm. Photo Credit Matt Watson / Philly Sports Network

Now at 20.1 straight scoreless innings, Strahm finds himself in intriguing company. He is the 6th pitcher in the Modern Era to have a 20-game span in which they have allowed no runs, walked 2 or fewer, and struck out 29 or more batters. Those other six pitchers are Koji Uehara, Craig Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman, Robb Nen, and (most recently) Sean Doolittle.

A Manager’s Dream

“He’s been a godsend,” said Phillies’ Manager Rob Thomson. “He comes in… multiple situations. During innings, can pick up 2 innings when you need it. High Leverage, he’s just performed at a really high rate.”

Even with the first game, Strahm has given up only 13 hits and 2 walks. He’s done that while opposing batters’ Batting Average in balls in play has been at .302. He has a 13.06 K/9 rate and a 15 K/BB ratio.

He’s been used for 2 innings and he’s been used for 1/3 of an inning.

Strahm has become a new fireman for Rob Thomson to use. He’s another closer in a bullpen full of potential closers.

The Phillies’ ultimate goal is to win a World Series. Regardless of when Strahm’s streak ends, he’s going to be a big part of a potential postseason run.

Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press via AP