(thanks Nathan Denette!)
When Marcus Stroman was called up to join the rotation, i was skeptical and of the belief that they were jumping the gun and ran the risk of perhaps harming his confidence.
His results have been impressive, though somewhat of a mixed bag. But when he has command over his fastball and his breaking ball is as devastating as it was tonight, then welcome to the show, Mr. Stro.
After the Yanks fouled off pitch after pitch last week and chased him early, Stroman responded on his home turf by hurling 8 innings of three-hit ball, walking only one and striking out seven; some by the breaking ball, and some by blowing his plus fastball past decent (if outdated) Yankees hitters. He had poise, he worked quickly, and only pitched out of the stretch three times.
In a neat showing of respect for the kid, Gibby didn’t even warm anyone up for the 8th after Stroman had thrown 100 pitches through seven innings.
Meanwhile, on the offensive side, the Jays had their way with Chase Whitley, scoring in the first on back-to-back gappers by Melky Cabrera and Adam Lind, then exploding for six runs on seven hits in the 2nd.
In that inning, Adam Lind, back after missing about a week, crushed a three-run homer over the 400-foot sign in centre for his fourth of the season. He took Jose Bautista’s spot in the lineup, which was pretty damn perfect timing. He’s now hitting .343.
But more impressive than ZZ’s power stroke was the Jays’ patient approach against Whitley, with their bats not afraid to take balls the opposite way, with everyone grinding out at-bats, and by collecting 8 runs on 11 hits in just 3.1 innings against a pitcher who dominated them a week ago.
The Jays would wrap up their scoring in the 4th with Dioner Navarro’s 2nd RBI-hit of the game. Love this guy.
As usual, a pitcher’s line doesn’t tell the entire story, with Stroman getting a fair amount of help from the fellas behind him.
Edwin Encarnacion made a couple of slick plays at first base, and Anthony Gose more than ably spelled J-Bau in right, making a brilliant running catch on a Brendan Ryan fly-ball in the 6th before crashing hard into the chain-link fence in front of the bullpen. Not bad for his first game back from Buffalo.
As a result, the Jays move 2.5 up on the Yanks for first in the East, though the Orioles kept pace at 1.5 back after a walk-off victory over the White Sox. Boston fell seven (hehehe) back and the Rays fell a full dozen (HAHAHAHA) back.
No bullets tonight, no nitpicking, no complaining that Jose Reyes was next to useless at the plate and could have charged a grounder hit his way instead of letting it roll slowly to him.
Tomorrow, Mark Buehrle once again looks to pick up his 11th win of the season, taking on David Phelps who, despite besting the Jays last week, is another beatable starter if this offence clicks like it did tonight.
For Jays Balk, I’m @TheAsherRoth.