Marcus Stroman took to the mound this afternoon to make his second rehab in the Buffalo Bisons' season finale in Pawtucket, scheduled to throw around 85 pitches. Unlike his first outing in Lansing when he threw 4.2 no-hit innings, this outing did not as smoothly, and the Pawtucket Red Sox ran away with it just like their Major League counterparts did elsewhere in New England.
Stroman pitched 3 innings, facing 20 batters, and throwing 79 pitches and 44 strikes. He allowed 8 hits and 5 (earned) runs while walking four batters, but on the plus side he did strike out a healthy five batters (25%). Of course, the results aren't nearly as important as him, and on that front Stroman seemed very satisfied:
Marcus Stroman: "Arm felt great, knee felt great. Results didn't say so, but my stuff felt unreal." #BlueJays— Arden Zwelling (@ArdenZwelling) September 7, 2015
At various points in the 2nd and 3rd innings, Stroman struggled to find the strike zone, especially with his fastball, but a significant number of the misses were not that far off the edges and corners of the zone. According to the Pawtucket broadcast, he was mostly in the low 90s on the stadium gun, but there a few readings of 93.
The bigger issue would be that of the 11 balls that were put in play, eight of them were squared up/hit hard. So it's fair to say that his command was certainly not completely there, but that's not necessarily a huge issue either. Pitchers will have some days like that.
Stroman said he was too up in the zone; rushing a bit. Will work in his next bullpen to fine tune and stay more on top of ball. #BlueJays— Arden Zwelling (@ArdenZwelling) September 7, 2015
On the plus side, I thought his breaking stuff looked pretty good and which he used quite often. He got a fair number of swings and misses on it, though not always with great finish allowing batters to fouled it off. But to my recollection, it was really only squared up once in the first inning.
So now the question is what next? Will Stroman start at Yankee Stadium next weekend despite today's outing, especially knowing that if he struggles there's an expanded bullpen behind him? The only option for another rehab start would be if low-A Lansing advanced past Great Lakes in the first round of the playoffs, in which case they would be playing next weekend and that would be a possibility. We'll see, I guess.
Below, for those who care, I've included my pitch by pitch summary of the start:
Pitch Legend: B-ball; C-called strike; F-foul; P-In play; S-swinging strike; 1-fastball; 2-change; 3-curve; 4-slider; 5-breaking ball; 6-offspeed. Since I haven't watched Stroman in year and there wasn't a velo display, I didn't bother trying to classify most breaking balls into slider or curve. Any other numbers are velocity reads passed along.
And with that, the 2015 minor league season is in the books for all Blue Jays affiliates but the Lansing Lugnuts who are the sole non-complex league team in the system to make the playoffs this year. For once, the Jays are relevant as the minor league season wraps up, but it's still quite bittersweet as for me this is what truly signals the end of summer. But as Bison broadcaster Ben Wagner noted, in 213 days it all starts anew.