Chris Stratton pitched another wonderful game last night to beat Ole Miss 4-0 in Game 1 of the series. It was a complete game shutout on only 104 pitches. He only gave up five hits all night and outside Alex Yarbrough the Bears were 2 for 25. Stratton only faced four batters more than the minimum!
Strat is now 8-0 with a 2.39 E.R.A., at the rate he’s going it will be below 2.0 before long. In a game between two really good pitchers, Stratton delivered; and now State has won five in a row.
After relatively average freshman and sophomore years (10-10, 5.2+ E.R.A.), Stratton has emerged as a top tier pitcher – for anyone. He is likely to be a first round draft pick in June. I think he is a lot like John Smoltz (I’m not saying he’ll eventually be a Hall of Famer) – they are the same height, and once Chris puts on the weight he will be throwing mid-90s like Smoltzy.
MSU is coming on strong now, but where would this team be if it weren’t for Stratton holding it together?
He started the year in relief. Ben Bracewell was the Friday night starter with Stratton coming in for him, but he was injured before SEC play started. So Chris Stratton got things kicked off against LSU striking out 17 in 8 2/3 innings before handing it over to Caleb Reed, but State couldn’t win in extra innings. After that great performance, he should have been 5-0, but he wasn’t.
Strat’s 5th win came against Arkansas the next weekend. He beat Auburn the next weekend, then Vanderbilt the next. Against South Carolina he passed off a 6-4 8th inning lead to Reed but the Dawgs lost the game. Vs. Tennessee he went nine innings only giving up one run – but the offense only scored one run as well so MSU had to win it in extra innings. Then last night he dominates TSUN. He’s 8-0, but he could just as easily be 11-0. Wow.
Out of State’s nine SEC wins, Stratton was the starting pitcher in five of them. And like I said, he should have won all seven games he’s started. MSU has won half the games Kendall Graveman has started, but only 1 of 6 in the Nick Routt/Evan Mitchell/Johnny Bullpen days. So the Dawgs are only winning 33% of the SEC games Stratton doesn’t start. Therefore, I can only conclude that they would be 6-13 or 7-12 right now without him. What’s more, he was 4-0 in the non-conference, pitching long relief for Bracewell, so you might have to take a couple of overall wins away too. With that kind of record, we’d be staring at no regional for sure.
Chris Stratton is becoming a great pitcher. If you haven’t been watching, it’s time to start. With a guy like that on our side, anything is possible come postseason play.