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Stroman: 'I want to be the guy with the ball'

Starter clearly wanted to stay in game; Montoyo says 'It's all good'
@gregorMLB
May 11, 2019

TORONTO -- Marcus Stroman is in the midst of a red-hot start to the season and yet he can’t seem to catch a break. Toronto’s offense has let him down time and time again. Stroman allowed four runs, three earned, over 6 1/3 solid innings and yet that wasn’t even

TORONTO -- Marcus Stroman is in the midst of a red-hot start to the season and yet he can’t seem to catch a break. Toronto’s offense has let him down time and time again.

Stroman allowed four runs, three earned, over 6 1/3 solid innings and yet that wasn’t even close to enough to avoid a 7-2 loss at the hands of the White Sox on Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre. It was the sixth time in nine starts this season that Stroman has received zero run support while he was in the game and it’s the primary reason he is 1-6 to start the year.

Box score

The frustration clearly boiled over during the top of the seventh inning when manager Charlie Montoyo left the dugout to remove him from the game. Stroman immediately started screaming at his manager and he also had some choice words for pitching coach Pete Walker upon his return to the dugout. It was a drama-filled afternoon at Rogers Centre.

“First off, I’m never happy to be leaving the game,” Stroman said. “My teammates, my coaches, everybody honors that. I want to be the guy with the ball, always. The last thing I ever have in my head when a manager comes to get me is, 'Yes! I can’t wait to get out of this game. Please let someone else face the next guy.’

“That’s the last place my mentality will ever be. Charlie knows that, Charlie respects that. He told me at the beginning of the season that he loves the fact that I always have the ball. That wasn’t a disagreement, that was just me upset about coming out.”

Stroman’s anger likely had been building for quite some time. The product of Duke University entered Saturday’s game as the only pitcher in franchise history to lose five-plus games over his first eight starts despite posting an ERA below 3.00. He also has 1.38 runs of support per nine innings, which trails only teammate Trent Thornton (1.21) for the lowest in the Majors among pitchers with at least five starts.

The 28-year-old allowed two runs in the third on a solo homer by Yolmer Sanchez and an RBI single by Yoan Moncada. (He also committed a throwing error on a pickoff attempt of Leury Garcia.) That was it until the seventh, when Chicago opened the frame with back-to-back singles by James McCann and Charlie Tilson. After Tim Anderson lined out, Nicky Delmonico chased Stroman from the game with an RBI single to center. That's when the real fireworks began.

After Delmonico's hit, Montoyo exited the dugout and Stroman started screaming in his direction. Stroman appeared to be making his case to remain in the game, but Montoyo wasn’t having any of it and asked for the ball. Stroman continued to talk as he walked off the field and then began yelling in the direction of Walker once he returned to the dugout. Whether it was frustration from a lack of run support, a lack of execution, or with the coaching staff, it’s clear Stroman wasn’t happy.

Despite the disagreement, Montoyo apparently did not take issue with the antics.

“Actually, I like it,” Montoyo said after the game. “I like it when pitchers get upset when I take them out. That’s what I want. I don’t want a guy to be happy. That’s one thing I like about this group, even the position players, when they’re not playing, they get mad at me, which I love it. It’s all good. … There’s no precedent. We’ve already talked. He was upset about being taken out. It’s all good.”

The Blue Jays’ offense wasn’t able to do much of anything off White Sox starter Ivan Nova, who allowed a home run to Randal Grichuk and not much else. The right-hander was charged with the one run on five hits and three walks over six-plus innings. Toronto went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base while losing for the sixth time in its last seven games.

The Blue Jays have been held to three runs or fewer in 20 of their 39 games this season.

Stroman has not received any run support while in the game during each of his last three starts.

“I’m not worried about that,” Stroman said. “That’s the last thing I’m thinking about. I’m sure, at some point, my guys are going to have me and score a bunch of runs at some point here. That’s the last thing I’m ever thinking about, is run support.”

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook.