Marcus Stroman's masterpiece just what Mets bullpen needed: 'That’s my goal'

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Marcus Stroman pitches vs. Reds in grey uniform
Marcus Stroman pitches vs. Reds in grey uniform

Before Marcus Stroman took the mound for the Mets on Wednesday afternoon, the bullpen was already spent. Between Taijuan Walker’s one-third inning against the Pirates and the past short performances by Jared Eickhoff and Robert Stock, relievers have been asked to do a lot to keep the Mets in games.

So New York was hoping that Stroman could come in and give some length, something he hasn’t been doing too much in recent starts. He went on to throw eight scoreless innings, allowing one hit and only Jeurys Familia was needed to close out the ninth by striking out the side.

Mission accomplished.

“Highly important,” Luis Rojas said of Stroman’s outing. “Stroman’s been outstanding this season. He’s kept us in a lot of games and his record doesn’t show the way he’s pitched. You see the ERA, how low it is. Right now, I think he has a 7-8 record, but that’s because he’s been there and taken us deep in games the same way he did today. He gave us the eight innings.”

“I was more excited to give our bullpen a little bit more relief and to see those guys fresh for Friday,” Stroman said instead of putting his performance first. “I think that’s the goal.

“To be honest with you, I have the same mentality and mindset each and every game. That’s what I look forward to doing each and every time out – that’s my goal. I feel like that’s the standard. Anything under that, I’m never truly happy with myself.”

Stroman’s mechanics were slightly off in his recent outings in which he couldn’t get past five innings of work. Throughout the season, he’s been able to post at least six innings consistently, so he and pitching coach Jeremy Hefner got to work to figure things out.

To the regular eye, the mechanical inefficiencies wouldn’t stick out. But Storman and Hefner both saw what was wrong and corrected it.

“Me and Hef have been working on something to get my hands low, getting a little bit better rhythm, staying more connected, getting back into my core,” Stroman explained. “It’s just good to see those things pay off in between starts and then kinda when you go out there. Seeing more success gives you more confidence.”

The results speak for themselves. Stroman talked briefly about not having the right delivery and finger pressure on the baseball when he was throwing his slider, which is his bread and butter to go along with his sinker. Though it may sound small, correct pressure on fingertips for certain pitches is the difference between good and great.

For Stroman, four of his seven strikeouts came on that tight, late-breaking slider.

“Changeup was really good,” Rojas said. “He had a nasty changeup towards the end of the outing. The sinker worked. The slider played really well. So the mix of his pitches was outstanding.”

And because of vintage Stroman pitching, the Mets’ bullpen gets two days off basically before an 11-game homestand with the Toronto Blue Jays – Storman’s former team – making the trip to Queens to kick it off on Friday.

It was all just getting back to the basics for the Long Island native, and not thinking too much about the previous outings. That’s the show of a true pro, and something Stroman said the Mets have been doing all season long.

“The mentality of this group. You don’t see anyone fazed on a bad day or a bad week,” he said.