No other words can describe Marcus Stroman’s 2017 World Baseball Classic performance.
Stroman carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning against Team Puerto Rico - Team Puerto Rico! - and only allowed one double to Angel Pagan before being lifted from the game by Team USA manager Jim Leyland. Stroman ended up winning the WBC MVP, a mark he truly deserved for his amazing performances.
"I love pitching in these moments, I love the atmosphere. I feel like the bigger the game, the more I'm able to get up, the more effective I am. ... This was probably one of the biggest, if not the biggest, game I've ever pitched in... It was an unbelievable experience, and I’ll be back in four years to defend the title.
On Friday, also against Puerto Rico, Stroman struggled. In the start, he allowed six straight hits to start the game (he has never allowed more than five hits in a major league inning), and eight total, but he settled down later and allowed a total of four runs over 4.2 innings pitched.
John Gibbons, when speaking about Stroman yesterday morning, said, “He’s got the weight of the world on his shoulders. I hope he doesn’t come back any shorter.”
In other, much less important news, Devon Travis is advancing well. Per Arden Zwelling, he’s expected to make his debut with the major league club Friday against the Red Sox, a big step towards being ready for Opening Day. In a minor league game yesterday, Travis played five innings at second base and lined out, hit a fly ball to the warning track and struck out in his three at bats.
The Blue Jays won 5-4 yesterday on a walk off, three run home run from utility infielder Shane Opitz. It capped off perhaps the best Blue Jay start of the spring from Marco Estrada, who pitched five innings and only allowed two hits (one run). He retired the last 14 batters he faced. You can read our full breakdown of the game here.
The Blue Jays have an off day today, but will face the Boston Red Sox tomorrow at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. J.A. Happ gets the start for Toronto and Drew Pomeranz will go to the mound for Boston with a 1:07 EST start time.
Some other minor updates:
- The Blue Jays reassigned Matt Dermody, T.J. House and Brett Oberholtzer to minor league camp.
- Steve Pearce will start in the outfield on Saturday against Team Canada in another exhibition game as part of a split squad day.
- Closer Roberto Osuna, originally scheduled to appear in yesterday’s game against the Tigers, was scratched due to a stiff neck.
- Melvin Upton Jr. is experiencing continued right shoulder soreness, to which a doctor recommended rest. John Gibbons expects Upton to return in “a few days.”
- Dalton Pompey is still unavailable to play due to his concussion from the WBC with Team Canada.
- But wait - there’s more! Ezequiel Carrera is unavailable with a right though contusion.
Follow Mark Colley on Instagram and Twitter at @360BlueJayNews and @MarkColley.