Marcus Stroman delivered another strong start on Wednesday night, pitching a complete game to try and propel the Blue Jays into the win column. Unfortunately, the bats didn’t support his stellar start.
There are a lot of negatives that we can point to with a 1-7 start, but for the sake of staying sane, let’s take a look at a positive or two, shall we?
Namely, Marcus Stroman looks as good as we’ve ever seen him in a Blue Jays uniform. After dominating the Grapefruit League season and pitching like an ace in the World Baseball Classic, Stroman has been the best pitcher on the Blue Jays roster thus far.
At 1-7, Stroman has earned the only win thus far, and if baseball was a fair game he would have moved to 2-0 after last night’s performance. He was simply dominant, allowing just 7 hits over his 9 frames, with just 1 walk and 4 strikeouts. The kind of performance that the Blue Jays desperately needed, only they just couldn’t capitalize on it.
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Stroman isn’t the typical “ace” in that he doesn’t pursue strikeouts, but rather pitches to contact as a favoured way to get opposing hitters out. He threw just 100 pitches on Wednesday night, and looked as though he had some gas left in the tank, despite the fact that it was just his second start of the season.
When it comes to the Blue Jays difficult start, it’s hardly been the fault of the starting rotation. Removing Francisco Liriano‘s dud in his first go around, and we’ve seen 6 quality starts from the rotation already, which makes a 1-7 start that much more difficult to swallow. Aaron Sanchez looked very good in his debut, J.A. Happ has been strong, and Marco Estrada had a good start in the opener, followed by one with mixed results on Monday.
The Blue Jays are in the enviable position of having several starters who could pitch near the top of the rotation. Estrada got the ball on Opening Day, as he did in the playoffs, a role that he’s earned during his time with the Blue Jays. However, if he’s the de facto ace, then that makes Aaron Sanchez and company some of the better supporting staff starters in baseball. In the minds of many baseball pundits, Stroman is the 4th best starter on the talented staff, which is a coveted position to be in for the organization.
Sanchez is pushing for ace status this year, and if Stroman continues to perform the way he is now then he’ll be joining the conversation, sooner than later. The way things are going for the struggling Blue Jays, they could use all the help they can get.