In typical Marcus Stroman fashion, the young fireballer stepped up on the world stage and not only dominated teammate Jose Bautista but the entire star-laden defending WBC champion Dominican Republic team.
Toronto Blue Jays fans were awarded a World Baseball Classic treat last night as pitcher Marcus Stroman and Team USA squared up against slugger Jose Bautista and the Dominican Republic in a match-up for the ages.
Stroman was absolutely brilliant on the bump silencing the Dominican offence, the 25-year old tossed 4.2 innings of scoreless ball fanning four and not issuing a free pass. The Dominican Republic bats could only muster three hits off Stroman and only managed to hit two balls out of the infield off the young ace.
The Blue Jays faceoff between Stroman and Bautista was all the hype and the two friendly combatants sheepishly acknowledged one another before Bautista’s first at bat. Stroman would retire the slugger on both occasions they faced.
The first at bat Bautista popped up in foul territory and was retired by the first baseman. The rematch was much more entertaining as Stroman froze Bautista on a nasty slider for a called third strike.
Stroman retired the first two batters of the 5th inning before surrendering a single to Starling Marte. Team USA manager Jim Leyland decided to replace Stroman who was at 64 pitches with Tanner Roark to finish off the inning. Stroman would exit the contest with a 3-0 lead.
The larger than life Stroman walked off to a standing ovation from the packed house at Marlins Park. The hurler who coined the phrase “Height Doesn’t Measure Heart” sported a pair of patriotic stars and stripes cleats for the WBC appearance.
The Twittersphere nearly blew up as fans and players alike reacted to Stroman’s brilliance at the Classic. Although MLB writer Anthony Castovince may have won tweet of the night honors.
Unfortunately for Stroman and company, the outing was quickly overshadowed as the Dominican Republic would pull off a heroic comeback overtaking Team USA 7-5 off the bat of Nelson Cruz.
Blue Jays fans should be optimistic that Stroman can rebound from a lackluster 2016 season after that performance. Regardless of where you are from or who you root for, the World Baseball Classic has been interesting, to say the least.