Mariners’ George Kirby throws record 24 straight strikes to open game

Mariners rookie George Kirby was in the zone on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old Rye, NY native opened an afternoon game with the Nationals at T-Mobile Park by throwing an MLB record 24 straight strikes.

“I looked up at 15 or 16, and I was like, ‘Oh, man,'” said Kirby, who allowed a run in seven innings in the Mariners’ 3-1 loss to the Nationals. “I felt really good. I wasn’t afraid to put it in the middle of the plate today.

George Kirby’s departure on Wednesday turned into an MLB record.

Kirby became the third pitcher to hit 20 consecutive strikes to open a game, breaking Joe Musgrove’s previous record of 21 set in 2018 with the Pirates. Braves pitcher Ervin Santana turned 20 in 2014.

Getting into the record books is “pretty cool,” Kirby said after the loss, in which he allowed eight hits and one earned run in seven innings. He threw 85 pitches in the afternoon — 69 for strikes — totaling eight strikeouts and, unsurprisingly, no walks.

“I’ve never seen anyone go out and throw 24 straight strikes to start a game,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “It’s as good as it gets. I got to the point where, the first ball he threw, I was actually getting a little nervous. You have to throw a few balls – they kept swinging with every throw. Kudos to him, his stuff is just as good.

He became the third-fastest pitcher in Mariners history to reach 100 career strikeouts, with his 18 starts behind only Michael Pineda (17) and Felix Hernandez (16).

First-round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft — and a Yankees fan — Kirby has a fairly straightforward approach to the game that served him particularly well on Wednesday.

“Just throw strikes, do well,” he said. “That’s the name of the game.”

New York Post

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