Marcus Stroman proving he can be workhorse of Blue Jays’ pitching staff


Marcus Stroman proving he can be workhorse of Blue Jays’ pitching staff
  1. Marcus Stroman proving he can be workhorse of Blue Jays’ pitching staff
    sportsnet.ca
    With each solid start he throws in his fourth MLB season, Marcus Stroman is continually proving he deserves the company he…
    Baseball

TORONTO — Mark Buehrle and RA Dickey never lit up radar guns, never struck batters out in bunches, never left an opposition lineup looking particularly overwhelmed. But each man did provide a crucial, underrated service during their tenures as Toronto Blue Jays: they gobbled up innings.

Buehrle threw 198.2 or more innings in each of his three seasons in Toronto, accumulating 604.1 in all. Dickey surpassed the 200 mark in three of his four campaigns, finishing with 824.1 as a Blue Jay.

That’s a lot of work. And when Toronto shed both those pitchers over the last two seasons, it left a vital role unfilled in Toronto’s rotation. Who was going to carry the load for the Blue Jays pitching staff? Who was going to be the workhorse?

Enter Marcus Stroman, who allowed two runs (both unearned) on six hits over six innings Wednesday night in Toronto’s 2-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. That outing brought Stroman’s season total up to 184.1 innings pitched (with a 3.08 ERA that sits fourth in the American League, mind you).

Assuming he remains healthy and effective over his three remaining starts, Stroman is a very good bet to accumulate the 15.2 frames he needs for his second consecutive 200-inning season. In fact, Stroman has now pitched the eighth-most innings in baseball over the last two years with 388.1.

The pitchers Stroman is chasing atop that list — Chris Sale, Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, Max Scherzer, Corey Kluber, Jeff Samardzija and Chris Archer are above him — is a who’s who of MLB aces. And with each solid start he throws in his fourth MLB season, Stroman is continually proving he deserves the company he keeps.

Stroman was his usual self Wednesday night, pumping two-seamers down in the zone to earn 10 groundball outs. He also racked up 12 swinging strikes, eight of them with his slider which has been an extremely difficult pitch to hit all season.

Some shoddy defence allowed the Orioles to get to Stroman in the first inning, as Josh Donaldson threw wide of first to allow leadoff hitter Tim Beckham to reach on a groundball and, an out later, bobbled a double play ball off the bat of Jonathan Schoop that would have gotten Stroman out of the inning.

A fly ball to left from Adam Jones could have sent Stroman into the dugout again, but Teoscar Hernandez misread the play and broke in, letting the ball fly over his head for a run-scoring double. Stroman then left a 2-2 slider up and over the plate to Trey Mancini, who crushed it to the wall in right-centre for a triple, cashing Jones with the inning’s second unearned run.

Stroman avoided trouble from there until the fourth, when a leadoff double followed by consecutive walks loaded the bases with none out. But after a brief visit from Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker, Stroman rallied to strike out Seth Smith on three pitches and get Caleb Joseph to ground into an inning-ending double play.

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