Marcus Stroman: Big Game Pitcher
The New York Mets were reeling, and honestly, they were on the verge of not just falling out of the race, but completely falling apart. They turned desperate activating Javier Báez without so much as a rehab stint.
This was actually the perfect time for a Marcus Stroman start.
In his career, Stroman was established himself as a big game pitcher. We saw it as he rushed back from an ACL injury to help the Toronto Blue Jays in the postseason. He was the World Baseball Classic MVP. We now have his Mets performance to add to the list.
Entering his start yesterday, Stroman had a 3.07 ERA in the second half. That’s nearly a run and a half lower than the Mets team ERA in the second half. Of course, that team ERA is lower partially due to Stroman.
He took the mound against the Los Angeles Dodgers with the Mets a season worst three games under .500 and 7.0 games back in the division.
Báez proved to be a spark plug to the offense with an RBI double in the first. It actually led to three first inning runs and an offensive explosion of seven . . . SEVEN! . . . runs.
However, before it got to seven, it was 3-0, and it was up to Stroman to ensure the win. After that top of the first, he did what great pitchers do. He shut down the side, and he did it in order.
In fact, Stroman wouldn’t allow a hit until the third. That was a single by the opposing pitcher David Price. A position player wouldn’t get a hit until the fourth. The reason was Stroman was filthy.
Marcus Stroman, Sick 88mph Split Change. ? pic.twitter.com/AEOWoEoDu3
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 22, 2021
He would get into trouble in the fourth, and it was partially because J.D. Davis couldn’t make a play a third baseman needs to make. The bases would be loaded, and Cody Bellinger hit a two RBI single pulling the Dodgers within 3-2.
That’s as close as the Dodgers would get. Patrick Mazeika came up big throwing out Bellinger trying to steal second for the third out of the inning.
Speaking of Mazeika, this was the second straight start he worked with Stroman, and they look like they’ve been working together for years. It’s something Stroman spoke about and for the second straight start, he gave credit to his catcher.
.@STR0 shouts out Patrick Mazeika for adapting to his pitching style so quickly:
"The camaraderie and the relationship is usually developed over time, so for him to just come in and pick up and be great, that just says a lot to his character and his commitment to his work." pic.twitter.com/o4Hc8JMIqy
— SNY (@SNYtv) August 23, 2021
The Dodgers wouldn’t get another hit off Stroman, and they wouldn’t score another run in the game. Stroman’s final line was 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K.
This isn’t just the line of a pitcher who wants to push his way into the Cy Young discussion, or one who has free agency pending. No, this is the line of a pitcher who wants to will his team into the postseason.
What was a tight game became a blowout. Again, it was Báez igniting things with a double. That seventh inning double didn’t just spark two runs, it was also the smoothest slide you’ll ever see. It was in front of Trea Turner to boot.
In the end, it wasn’t just a 7-2 win, it was a desperately needed win. Mostly, it was a big time pitching performance against a loaded lineup at a time the Mets needed one.
There were many players who stepped up on the day, but in the end, Stroman loomed largest. This is what he does, and it’s what he may well continue to do as he looks to push the Mets into the postseason.