Marcus Stroman has been having a rough time of it. It is one of those reminders that there a very fine line between pitching well and pitching bad.
Over his last 7 starts he has a 7.40 ERA. Two of the his last 7 starts were pretty good, the other 5 were terrible.
In the 8 starts before things went bad, he had an ERA of 3.54 and a 4-0 record. Now his ERA is 5.23 and a 6-3 record.
What’s different? At the start of the season, every pitch seemed to be down at the bottom of the strikezone (except when he would occasionally throw a high fastball to change the batters eye). Now everything is up in the middle of the strikezone. It seems that most of his pitches are thigh high and over the plate.
Instead of seeing his low pitches get pounded into the ground, the high pitches are hit on a line, hard.
We are getting the usual lines, from the talking heads: "he's not getting on top of his pitches". I do wonder if it is just that easy. You'd think it was that simple, it would fixed in no time. I'd imagine there are more things going on.
It’s must be hard on him. Over at Sportsnet.ca Arden Zweilling quotes Marcus saying:
"I feel like I’ve been doing a little over analyzing," a disheartened Stroman said, after allowing seven runs on 10 hits in 3.2 innings against the Orioles. "When I’m out there I usually don’t think at all. I usually just let my instincts take over. And that could be something that I’ve been playing into. Maybe I’m doing a little too much thinking as I’m trying to get back to being right."
I can understand that. I always felt that I was a fairly natural golfer (not good or anything, but just natural). When I start thinking about it, it all falls apart. As long as I don't try to analyse things, all is ok.
After recent poor outings, he’s obsessed over his performance, poured over video and had lengthy talks with Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker in an attempt to fix that He’s done an awful lot of thinking.
This time around, he plans to get away from the game of baseball completely during the Blue Jays off-day Monday in order to relax his mind and decompress from the world of over-analyzing he’s been existing in. Then, on Tuesday, he’ll go to Rogers Centre and try to get back to where he was through his first ten starts of the year.
I really don’t know what the answer is. I hear people suggesting he should go down to Buffalo to work through it. I’m not a huge fan of that idea. For one,we don’t have a lot of depth. Beyond Drew Hutchison, I don’t see that we have a major league ready starter ready to go. And I think that’s overreacting to a slump.
Everyone goes through a slump at some point, if we try to send everyone that slumps to the minors, there would be a lot of traffic between Toronto and Buffalo. And you will have a players looking over their shoulders every time they have a bad game.
I think you have to ride it out, at least for a few more starts, and hope that he figures it out soon. He does have good moments, he made it through the 3rd inning of yesterday’s game on 8 pitches, getting 2 strikeouts. It seemed like all was good again and then he lost it the next inning.
I’d like him to stay in Toronto, figuring we should have the organization’s best pitching coaches here. Let him work it out. It he has 3 or 4 more bad starts, then maybe starting thinking about sending him out.
He is such a hard worker and he seems to very much want to do well. He's smart. He'll get it together.
Complicating matters is the innings limit that the team has Aaron Sanchez on. At some point, they will be removing him from the rotation and Drew Hutchison will slide into his spot. If they have to replace two members of the rotation, I think that’s asking for trouble.
I hate feeling panic over slumps, it's a long season, slumps happen. You have to be able to deal with them. If a team is going to win, you can't let slumps bother you that much.
Let's have poll.