The case of Marcus Stroman has been a tricky one in the first half of the 2016 season. Stroman famously battled back from a devastating knee injury to pitch down the stretch and into the playoffs in 2015. He publicly declared that he wanted to be considered the ace, even if the Jays had retained David Price, before the season started.
However, Stroman hit a patch of games where he was pretty terrible. Hitters were all over Stroman's stuff. He wasn't executing in a way that we had grown accustomed to. He was still getting an insane number of groundballs, but pretty much nothing else was right.
Talk of too many pitches, of thinking too much, of the league adjusting circulated. Some argued, rather vehemently, that Stroman should be sent to Buffalo.
I was never one of those people. I thought Stroman should stick with Pete Walker, in Toronto, and try to stay calm. To work and try to get his mechanics back in line. It wasn't fun to watch, but I think getting sent to the Bisons "to clear his head" would've rattled him.
Every pitcher goes through this stuff. All of them. (Even Clayton Kershaw.) Everyone sucks sometimes.
We forget that he's young because he seems so confident and driven, but Stroman might not have had any rough patches while pitching before. And what separates the great from the so so is not just "stuff" but also how a pitcher reacts when the "stuff" is crap.
People who know these things talk about how baseball is all about adjustments.
And last night Marcus Stroman appeared to have made an adjustment. There were subtle hints of it in his start vs Chicago, and less subtle hints in his start in that marathon game vs Cleveland.
This was certainly a statement. Two runs on three hits, struck out six while walking one. Stroman also put his infield to work inducing 14 groundball outs.
What was the difference?
One more cutter versus two-seamer is not that big a change, but Stroman's ability to pound down made all the difference.
The other great thing was that Stroman got in to spots of bother in the later parts of the game. The Royals had scored runs in the sixth and the eighth, but Stroman managed to buckle down and minimize the damage. One of this problems when he was really struggling had been allowing things to escalate.
Pete Walker talked about Stroman's mechanical issues to Shi Davidi:
More consistently awesome.
You know who else is consistently awesome? This guy low fiving Coltrane.
Not every fan loves the All Star Game. People grumble about it every year. But listening to Saunders talk about it on Baseball Central made me decide that I am going to yell about voting for him until I just can't anymore.
Forget "Red Sox Nation", this is an actual nation.
Do what the picture says.
Also heard on the Jeff Blair Show this morning.
I had forgotten about this song. Very summer.