After a magical rookie campaign, many wondered how Braves’ flamethrower Spencer Strider could top it in his sophomore season. All Strider went out and did was put together a strikeout season better than any before him in Braves’ history.
Tonight, Strider eclipsed the previous single-season strikeout record of 276 punch outs which was held by John Smoltz in 1996. This season has not been absent of its ups and downs for Spencer, but one thing he has always been able to bank on was racking up the strikeouts.
Strider now stands alone with 277 strikeouts on the 2023 season with his strikeout of Nationals batter Jake Alu.
Braves country quickly fell in love with Spencer Stider last year thanks to his high-octane fastball, devastating slider, and magnificent mustache. The hype and expectations surrounding Strider were as high as any pitcher in baseball.
John Smoltz made sure to congratulate Strider on the accomplishment as he gave glowing praise of the talented right hander. Even he knows this won't be the last time Strider surpasses a strikeout record.
Despite the pressure of those expectations, Strider has shined consistently in 2023. Every fifth day has become must-see TV with Strider on the mound. He has provided some of the most electric starts by any pitcher this season. And with just one start remaining in his 2023 campaign, Strider has added another record to his ledger.
Coming into tonight Strider had season numbers of a 19-5 record, 3.81 ERA, 2.87 FIP, 1.073 WHIP, and 13.6 K/9. Those totals have garnered him NL Cy Young consideration despite the higher ERA.
The scariest thing about Strider is that we still truly have not seen the best of him yet. Regardless, it’s time to celebrate tonight as Strider’s strikeout of Jake Alu for number 277 on the year has made him the most lethal swing-and-miss pitcher in a single season in Braves history. Don’t be surprised if this record is short-lived though as Strider is an absolute perfectionist in every sense of the word. There is no doubt he will be on a mission to surpass his final total in 2024.
Make no mistake, the Braves still rely on a high-powered offense to get where they want to go. However, getting the best versions of Max Fried and Spencer Strider in their postseason starts will be a major factor for just how far this Atlanta Braves team goes.