Mets' Luis Rojas on Marcus Stroman's strong start to season: 'This year is the best version of him I've seen'

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Colin Martin
·3 min read
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Mets Marcus Stroman clap celebrates
Mets Marcus Stroman clap celebrates

Mets manager Luis Rojas was very impressed with Marcus Stroman after his strong 8.0 IP performance in Sunday's 2-1 win over the Colorado Rockies, as the righty threw just 90 pitches.

"I'm gonna go back to his stuff, his repertoire has expanded, you saw him elevating at times, and we saw a couple split changes at times," Rojas said. "He pitched with his slider and sinker and cutter, when you wanna call it when he throws a little harder. That's what he used the most in the game, but he was able to introduce the other two as well.

"You guys saw the pitch count, he had like 40-something pitches in the fifth. And that's what he's gonna do when he establishes, guys are gonna swing, guys are gonna put balls in play, and they're gonna be on the ground, defense is gonna be on their toes, and we're gonna be able to make plays. And I think that's what happened early and let him go to the eight innings."

Stroman was in control for nearly the entire game, forcing batters to either ground out or hit soft line drives directly to the defense. He allowed just three hits and one earned run, while striking out five Rockies in the win.

"I think, right now, he's really confident inducing contact, and that's what he did in this game, that's what he did in the first two," Rojas said. "And that's why he got to the eighth inning. We're confident enough that he was going back there and facing at least the first three batters."

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Stroman made a highlight play on a behind the back stop, throwing a slow bouncing ball to Pete Alonso at first to get the out in time.

"To be honest with you, I'm not a fan of the play much, because I think the shortstop is going to come and make the play," Rojas said. "But a guy like Stroman, he's won Gold Gloves, and he's capable of doing those plays. Sometimes when a pitcher throws the glove behind the back, I kinda close my eyes a little bit, it could nip the glove and change directions or something and turn into an infield hit. It's an impressive play still, we've seen that play a numerous times in the game. I think he's done it more than once, it's a guy that has lot of confidence in his hands. He made a nice play covering first when Pete made a high throw, he's very athletic and he's got good hand. It was an exciting play."

Rojas would continue to talk about Stroman's work ethic with reporters after the game, making it clear that he thinks this year is the best version of Stroman, after opting out of the 2020 season.

"This guy prepared so well in the offseason, he didn't pitch last year," Rojas said. "And he took all that time to prepare to come in as the best version of himself, and we're seeing really good results right now. I think everyone is really excited about his performance out on the field."

Stroman is now 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA over three starts and 20.0 IP, including 11 strikeouts.

"This year is the best version of him I've seen," Rojas said. "When he came in, he was very impressive. Obviously getting to know him physically and to see him repeatedly start to start, we got to know the stuff and how special he is. But this year is the best version I've seen him since I saw him in '19, and I saw him in spring training last year. I didn't get to see him in the season, but right now he's throwing the ball the best I've seen him in the three years we've know each other."