West Fargo's Matt Strahm settling in with Philadelphia Phillies

The local MLB pitcher is getting in the swing of things with his new team and got his first win of the season on Monday, April 10, over Miami.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at New York Yankees
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Matt Strahm (25) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the New York Yankees on April 4, 2023, at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York.
Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports

WEST FARGO — West Fargo native Matt Strahm is in the eighth season of living his Major League Baseball dream but this one might be among the more polarizing in the game's history.

After becoming a free agent last November, Strahm signed with the Philadelphia Phillies on December 9, 2022, to a two-year, $15 million contract.

When the 31-year-old arrived at the Phillies' spring training camp with the rest of the team’s pitchers and catchers, something different was in the air. Besides just adjusting to typical “new guy stuff,” like meeting the players, coaches and team personnel, Strahm had to adapt to new league rules.

MLB installed changes to the game ahead of the 2023 season, including a ban on defensive shifts, bigger bases, limited pick off attempts, and — the biggest change — a pitch clock.

Pitchers must throw a pitch within 15 seconds with no one on base and 20 seconds with a runner on base. Pitchers who fail to meet the mark are charged a ball.


San Diego Padres pitcher Matt Strahm works against an Arizona Diamondbacks batter during an April 2019 game at Petco Park in San Diego. Orlando Ramirez / USA TODAY Sports

“It was definitely a learning curve and still is,” Strahm said of adjusting to the pitch clock. “The biggest part for me is learning it as a starter. It comes down to the conditioning.”

Although nothing is conclusive yet, Strahm said he believes he’s seen a rise in injuries as a result of the new rules. He said he doesn’t think that the pitch clock is good for the game but “it’s here and it is what it is.”

As a free agent, Strahm said he had clear ideas about what he was looking for in a new team.

“An important thing for me was to be a contender, and luckily Philly was looking for a (left-handed pitcher),” Strahm said. “Obviously, with the success they had last year, it was a no-brainer.”

Strahm joined the Phillies believing he was going to be a reliever but was later informed that the club planned to move him into the starting rotation. He made his second start of the season and picked up his first win in Philadelphia's 15-3 win over Miami on Monday, April 10. He went five shutout innings, allowing four hits, he walked one and struck out six.

Strahm made his first Phillies start on Tuesday, April 4, against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. He pitched four shutout innings, allowing one hit and striking out three Yankees, including history-making slugger Aaron Judge.

“I don’t really take into consideration who’s in the box,” Strahm said. “I just compete with what I've got and give my full effort on every pitch.”

He did not start a game last season for the Boston Red Sox, but has started 26 times in his career, including 22 starts with the San Diego Padres.


The Phillies are 3-6 after taking two of three from the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend. Strahm said he hopes the Phillies, who lost the World Series to Houston in six games last season, can pick up some steam after the shaky start.

Matt Strahm
Former West Fargo pitcher and 2010 West Fargo High School graduate Matt Strahm is a pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies. Forum file photo

“As a squad, we didn’t start out as we wanted to,” Strahm said. “We’re hitting the ball. We've got to pitch it as we hit it. Hopefully, (we get) rolling here and things take a turn.”

Strahm started his pro career as a 21st round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals in 2012. He began his career in rookie ball that year and made his MLB debut with the Royals in 2016.

Strahm has appeared in 209 major league games with the Royals, San Diego, Boston and now the Phillies. He's pitched almost 310 innings, has 17 wins and four saves, and a 3.75 earned-run average.

Growing up in West Fargo, Strahm said he was determined to make his MLB dream a reality.

“It doesn’t seem too out of the way for myself but I’m sure for people back home it’s kind of crazy,” he said. “You know, it’s just baseball, just a little better baseball.”

Strahm said his advice for young ball players hoping to play in the majors is simple: "Don’t listen to your teachers, because they all told me I can’t. Just follow your dreams.”

Matt Strahm says he's comfortable in any role the Phillies might use him in this season.
Jose F. Moreno / TNS

After graduating from North Dakota State University, Haugland joined the Forum in January of 2023. Readers can reach him at 701-241-5508 or by emailing
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