Asked if he was thinking of a complete game shutout or pushing to stay in the game for the ninth inning on Wednesday afternoon, Marcus Stroman quickly replied “Next question.”
Whether that was a clear sign that the righty wanted to finish the game after throwing 90 pitches in eight shutout innings, what was abundantly clear was how badly the Mets needed such an outing after the bullpen was taxed in recent days due to injuries and inefficiency from the starting rotation. But Stroman stepped up for New York and turned in arguably his best performance as a Met in a 7-0 win.
“Highly important,” manager Luis Rojas said. “Stroman’s been outstanding this season, and he’s kept us in a lot of games. His record doesn’t show the way he’s pitched. You se the ERA, how low it is. He’s taken us deep in games, the same way he did today.
“We were debating whether or not to go back to him, but he was sweating, the ups and downs we’ve dealt with, we felt OK.”
For Stroman, he didn’t feel any added pressure to eat up innings given the state of the rest of the pitching staff, but he accomplished that nonetheless, allowing just one hit and striking out seven while allowing no runners to get into scoring position.
“I have the same mentality and mindset every game,” Stroman said.
“That doesn’t change…that’s the standard.”
It may be the mission every time he takes the mound, but it was particularly important on Wednesday, as Stroman delivered exactly what the Mets needed. They might need it again in his next outing with the bulk of the pitching staff on the IL.
But Stroman certainly helped make Rojas’ job easier in the immediate future, starting with this weekend’s series against Stroman’s former team in the Blue Jays, who will face a rested Mets bullpen thanks to Stroman.
“It’s been a struggle with a bunch of our guys being used over the past couple days,” Stroman said. “Any time I can come in and be a huge sense of relief and go deep into games and give our bullpen time to relax…I think that’s awesome, and I think those guys will be a lot fresher on Friday.”
Follow Ryan Chichester on Twitter: @ryanchichester1