Mets' Taijuan Walker: Marcus Stroman 'could be an ace on any other team'

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Marcus Stroman pitches in home uniform vs. Braves
Marcus Stroman pitches in home uniform vs. Braves

A day after throwing eight shutout innings against the Cincinnati Reds, Marcus Stroman held his inaugural HDMH Foundation baseball/softball clinic on Long Island Thursday morning.

Thursday’s day off was a chance for Stroman to give back to his community, and he brought teammates Taijuan Walker and Dom Smith with him, along with a pair of Mets coaches.

Walker spoke about how great it felt to be able to join Stroman at Thursday’s event, but he also praised Stroman’s one-hit, seven-strikeout performance in the 7-0 win over the Reds.

“It was dominant, and it was something that we really needed, too,” Walker said of Stroman. “I didn’t do my job as a starter the last couple of times, [Robert] Stock got hurt in the first inning, and our bullpen was taxed.

“We needed someone to step up, and that’s what aces do. I think Stroman’s an ace. He could be an ace on any other team, and for him to come out and do what he did yesterday was huge for us.”

Walker lasted just one-third of an inning his last time out against Pittsburgh, but his All-Star season has been a huge boost for the Mets, who have dealt with a plethora of injuries to their pitching staff. The Mets are currently without Jacob deGrom at the top of the rotation, but Walker is hopeful that deGrom can come back as strong as ever.

“Jake is the GOAT, and he’s the centerpiece of our team, same with [Francisco] Lindor,” Walker said. “We’ve been dealing with adversity all year, so once we get those guys back, I think the offense is starting to put up runs for us, and once we have all the pieces back, we’re going to click and I think we’re going to take off.”