Strickland pitching for the San Francisco Giants in 2015
|Born: September 24, 1988|
|September 1, 2014, for the San Francisco Giants|
|MLB statistics |
(through August 31, 2020)
|Earned run average||3.23|
|Career highlights and awards|
Hunter Drew Strickland (born September 24, 1988) is an American professional baseball pitcher who is currently a free agent. He previously played for the San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, Washington Nationals, and New York Mets.
On March 27, 2013, Strickland was designated for assignment by the Pirates, and on April 2, the San Francisco Giants claimed Strickland off waivers. Strickland underwent Tommy John surgery in May and was designated for assignment in July and re-signed to a minor league contract with the Giants. He was re-added to the Giants' 40-man roster on November 20, 2013.
Strickland was called up to the majors for the first time on September 1, 2014. He pitched one scoreless inning of relief against the Colorado Rockies later that day. In the 2014 regular season, Strickland appeared in 9 games, allowing 5 hits and no runs in 7.0 innings pitched.
In Game 1 of the 2014 National League Division Series versus the Washington Nationals, Strickland entered the game with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth inning and struck out Ian Desmond to preserve the Giants' lead. In Game 2, Strickland recorded the save in the longest (by time, tied for longest in innings) playoff game in Major League history, as the Giants defeated the Nationals 2-1 in 18 innings. However, Strickland set a postseason record for a reliever by allowing six home runs, even though the Giants went on to defeat the Kansas City Royals in the 2014 World Series.
Strickland started the 2015 season with the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats, posting a 1.66 ERA in 21.2 innings, before being called up on May 24, 2015. Strickland did not yield a home run until August 3, a string of 188 batters between Triple-A and the majors. In 2015, Strickland appeared in 55 games, recording a 2.45 ERA with 50 strikeouts in 51.1 innings pitched. Strickland's 0.857 WHIP was the third-lowest among relievers with at least 50 innings pitched.
In 2016, Strickland was named to the opening day Major League roster for the first time in his career. He remained in the Giants bullpen throughout the season, collecting an ERA in the low 3's.
In a May 29, 2017, game against the Washington Nationals, Strickland hit Bryce Harper's right hip with a 98-mph fastball, which resulted in a benches-clearing brawl. Strickland had to be physically removed from the field by teammates after exchanging several punches with Harper. He received widespread criticism for his role in starting the brawl, as sports analysts and Harper have suggested that the intentional hit-by-pitch was the result of a grudge from the two home runs by Harper against him in the 2014 National League Division Series, a series the Giants ended up winning in 4 games en route to a World Series championship. The next day, on May 30, he was suspended for six games.
With Mark Melancon heading to the disabled list at the beginning of the season, Strickland was named the Giants closer. He earned his first save in a 1-0 victory on Opening Day against the Los Angeles Dodgers. While playing against the Miami Marlins on June 18, Strickland allowed three runs, blowing a save, and the Giants lost 5-4. Shortly after a pitching change, Strickland punched a door out of frustration, which wound up fracturing his right hand. Strickland underwent surgery the very next day, where the pinkie finger on his right hand was repaired. Strickland was ruled out for 6-8 weeks.
On July 31, 2019, the Mariners traded Strickland and Roenis Elías to the Washington Nationals in exchange for Aaron Fletcher, Taylor Guilbeau, and Elvis Alvarado. In 24 games with the Nationals, Strickland went 2-0 with a 5.14 ERA. Overall in 2019, combined with both teams, Strickland made 28 total relief appearances with a 2-1 record and a 5.55 ERA. The Nationals finished the 2019 year with a 93-69 record, clinching a wild card spot, and eventually went on to win the 2019 World Series over the Houston Astros, their first championship in franchise history. It was also the second time Strickland won a World Series in his career. During the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he gave up his 9th career postseason home run, a record for relief pitchers. He was released by the Nationals on March 14, 2020.
On June 29, 2020, Strickland signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets organization. On July 23, it was announced that Strickland had made the Opening Day roster for the Mets. On July 30, Strickland was designated for assignment when Brian Dozier was added to the roster. He was outrighted on August 2. On August 31, 2020, Strickland was selected back to the active roster. Strickland's contract was selected on August 31 adding him to the active roster. That night he threw a scoreless inning of relief with two strikeouts, but was designated for assignment again the next day. Strickland elected free agency on October 15, 2020.
Strickland married Shelley Todd in November 2011. The couple had their first child, a daughter, in April 2017.