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Spencer Strider on breaking records and nearly perfect night

Strider racked up 13 more strikeouts and broke another of John Smoltz’s records.

Miami Marlins v Atlanta Braves Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

ATLANTA — Spencer Strider turned in a record breaking performance Monday and helped the Atlanta Braves snap a four-game losing streak with a win over the Miami Marlins. The Braves offense broke out slugging five home runs, but Strider didn’t need much help on this night.

“I’m just grateful that I made it that deep in the game, to be honest with you,” Strider said of his performance. “I mean, to get through four without walking a guy to me is a good day. We threw strikes, attacked, Murph called a great game. When you do that stuff well, the little things, throw first strikes and that kind of stuff, it goes well usually.”

One of Strider’s stated goals has always been to pitch deep into games. His final line doesn’t even really express how dominant he was.

“Yeah, that was pretty good, just kind of didn’t have any stressful innings, just flowing and just so smooth and the ball was coming out really hot too,” Brian Snitker said of Strider after the game. He had all the strikeouts, but he had a lot of two pitch outs also, which I think is really good. He’s probably happy about the fact that he went eight innings, as anything.”

Strider retired the first 18 hitters he faced and carried a perfect game into the seventh inning. Ten of those first 18 outs came via strikeout. The perfect game bid ended when Jazz Chisholm reached to start the seventh on a fielding error by first baseman Matt Olson. Strider retired the next three hitters in order to carry his no-hit bid into the eighth.

“Yeah, I was thinking, I told Riley, I said that’s probably as nervous as I get,” Snitker answered when asked if Strider’s no-hit bid had him excited. “You just worry about the pitch count getting up there and I was just kind of thinking tonight, well, the way he’s going about it, I mean, he deserves a shot at it. Even if it gets elevated a little bit.”

Strider retired Avisail Garcia to start the eighth before Jean Segura broke up the no-hit bid with a single to left on an 0-2 pitch that appeared to be inches from the ground.

“Yeah, Segura’s a really good out of the zone hitter. So you don’t really know where to throw it to him,” Strider said of Segura’s hit. “I probably should have thrown it over the backstop. Maybe he couldn’t reach that, I don’t know, but he’s got pretty good hand-eye coordination. So yeah, I mean, I did say that to Kranny, I said at least I didn’t hang that slider. So if I’m going to get beat, that’s a good one to get beat on.”

Jon Berti followed Segura with another single, but Strider buckled down and struck out Jacob Stallings and Garrett Hampson to end the inning.

Strider finished with 13 strikeouts in the game. He now has 49 in just 30 innings pitched and has a strikeout rate of 42.6%. Strider also set a new franchise record by notching at least nine strikeouts in nine consecutive regular season starts. John Smoltz had eight in 1997. Strider is just two starts shy of the major league record with nine-or-more strikeouts, set by Nolan Ryan in 1977.

“Well, yeah, I mean, that’s cool. You can strike out a lot of guys and not get a lot of wins or put up zeros,” Strider said when asked about breaking the record. “So I’m glad that these last two games I’ve been able to sort of do both. It’s just hopefully indicative of throwing strikes, getting ahead, sort of using my full mix, and like I said, calling a good game, having a good game plan. We’re doing all that, and so hopefully this continues.”

Coming into Monday’s start, Strider had issued 11 walks over his first 22 innings. He didn’t walk anyone Monday night and was a model of efficiency throwing just 101 pitches with 81 landing in the strikezone.

“It’s funny because I kept looking up to see my slider, 81, 83, and that’s a little low for me, but the metrics are really good on it,” Strider said. “So in terms of a velo depth scale, it kind of evened out, if you will. So yeah, I mean, for the results to be that good, it’s just, I think that’s why intent’s so important and that’s something that I learned a couple starts ago. You can’t always have your best stuff, but I think you gotta want to get the hitter out more than they want to get on.”

Monday’s game was just Strider’s 25th career start. As good as he has been, he is far from a finished product. That is part of the reason that the Braves locked him up with a six-year, $75 million deal at the end of last season. He is 25 starts into his career and breaking records set by John Smoltz.

“I’m grateful that I’m in this position and it’s had some success and been able to help us win some games for sure,” Strider said. “I think there’s definitely work to be done and progress we can make. I’m never content really. I’m always trying to get better and we’ve got a great coaching staff and support staff here to help do that. But yeah, like I said, I’m glad that I’ve been able to help.”

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