The Mets and Nationals renew their rivalry on Thursday afternoon at Nationals Park, and their 2018 season series opener will feature a marquee pitching matchup: Jacob deGrom vs. Stephen Strasburg.Both pitchers showed their dominance in their first starts of the season. deGrom shut down the Cardinals for 5 2/3 innings,
The Mets and Nationals renew their rivalry on Thursday afternoon at Nationals Park, and their 2018 season series opener will feature a marquee pitching matchup: Jacob deGrom vs. Stephen Strasburg.
Both pitchers showed their dominance in their first starts of the season. deGrom shut down the Cardinals for 5 2/3 innings, allowing only one run and striking out seven. Strasburg led Washington past the Reds with 6 1/3 strong innings, giving up three runs -- but only one earned -- and striking out seven himself.
How do the two star right-handers stack up against one another? MLB.com breaks down the Tale of the Tape in advance of the 1:05 p.m. ET contest.
deGrom throws five different pitches: a four-seam and two-seam fastball, slider, changeup and curve. Here's how his arsenal looked in 2017.
Four-seamer: 40.4% usage, 95.2 avg. velo
Two-seamer: 15%, 94.7 mph
Slider: 22.8%, 89.3 mph
Changeup: 12.2%, 87.6 mph
Curveball: 9.5%, 81.2 mph
Strasburg sticks largely to four pitches: a four-seam fastball, curveball, changeup and curveball. Here's how he used his repertoire in 2017.
Four-seamer: 49.5% usage, 95.6 avg. velo
Curveball: 22.7%, 82.5 mph
Changeup: 19.5%, 88.8 mph
Slider: 6%, 90.1 mph
The high heat. deGrom loves to blow away hitters with four-seamers upstairs. His 122 strikeouts overall with his four-seamer ranked second in the Majors, and 78 came on elevated fastballs -- those in the upper third of the strike zone or higher. That was also second-most in baseball.
deGrom allowed a batting average of just .199 on his four-seamer in 2017 (53-for-267) and a slugging percentage of .322. His 214 swings-and-misses on the pitch were the most in MLB.
His changeup. Strasburg got 134 swings-and-misses on his changeup last season, fourth-most of any pitcher; hitters whiffed on 49.6 percent of their swings against it, the highest rate of the 92 starting pitchers with at least 100 swings against their changeups.
Strasburg held hitters to a .128 batting average (16-for-125) and .160 slugging percentage against his changeup. That batting average was third-lowest of the 95 starters with at least 50 at-bats decided on changeups, and the .160 slugging was second-lowest.
The two-seamer. That tended to be deGrom's most hittable pitch last season. deGrom allowed a .321 batting average and a .493 slugging percentage (including five home runs) on two-seam fastballs, easily his worst marks on any pitch in his arsenal.
It's hard to find a glaring weakness in Strasburg's stuff, but the four-seamer is the pitch that hitters sometimes got to last season. Strasburg only allowed 13 home runs in 2017, but nine were on four-seam fastballs, with no more than one allowed on any other pitch type.
Against each other:
deGrom and Strasburg actually haven't faced each other since 2015, when they made their only two starts against one another. On April 30, Strasburg beat deGrom with 5 1/3 innings of two-run, seven-strikeout baseball; deGrom allowed five runs (three earned) in his 5 1/3 innings.
On Sept. 9, deGrom won a brilliant pitchers' duel. deGrom beat Strasburg and the Nats with seven innings of two-run ball, striking out nine. Strasburg struck out 13 Mets in 7 1/3 innings and took a shutout into the eighth -- but the Mets rallied for three runs, with Yoenis Cespedes delivering the go-ahead homer.
Against the opposing team:
deGrom has been solid against the Nationals in his career. In 12 starts against Washington, deGrom is 5-4 with a 2.77 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 74 2/3 innings.
Ditto for Strasburg facing the Mets. In 16 starts against New York, he's 8-4 with a 2.64 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 99 innings.
David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.