Stroman DL-bound after blister ends outing
Blue Jays' 4-run first doesn't hold up in rainy opener vs. Yanks
NEW YORK -- Marcus Stroman gained a reputation of being an innings-eater during the early stages of his career, but that hasn't been the case this month, thanks in large part to a blister on his right middle finger that has him heading to the disabled list, according to his manager.
Stroman was limited to five innings or fewer for the third time in four outings on Friday night in the Blue Jays' 7-5 rain-shortened loss to the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. He allowed five runs on six hits and a pair of walks over four frames while throwing 54 of his 88 pitches for strikes. The loss went to righty Joe Biagini, who allowed one run in relief.
Since the blister has lingered for the last couple of weeks without any signs of improving, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said on Saturday morning that the right-hander will go on the 10-day disabled list. Though it's not official, Gibbons indicated that Thomas Pannone will take his spot on the roster and start Wednesday against the Orioles.
Stroman left the Blue Jays clubhouse before the media was allowed in and did not make himself available for comment.
"His blister flared up on him again," Gibbons said. "It was irritating him and it was affecting him a little bit."
Unlike Stroman's previous two starts, there wasn't a noticeable sign that the blister was bothering him against the Yankees. It didn't appear to bust open and start bleeding like it did against the Rays in his previous outing, but it was still apparent in his pitch selection. Stroman once again heavily relied on his sinker and cutter while eliminating most of his secondary offerings.
According to Statcast™, Stroman used his curveball just once, and 65 of his pitches were of the fastball variety. That's not the norm for a pitcher who typically uses his slider 30.5 percent of the time and a curveball/changeup 6.1 percent of the time. Stroman was able to go to his slider more often than he did in his previous two starts, but he's still clearly protecting himself against the lingering ailment.
With Stroman's blister causing issues, Gibbons turned things over to his bullpen with the Blue Jays locked in a 5-5 tie after 4 1/2 innings. Either way, this marked the seventh time in as many starts at Yankee Stadium since the beginning of 2015 that Stroman, a Long Island native, was not able to complete six innings. Stroman is 2-5 with a 6.37 ERA when pitching in the Bronx.
"There's no doubt, his finger irritates him when he's hitting those seams," Gibbons said. "He has battled through it before. It's a tough lineup. You're staring at that short right-field wall. … Tough night after a long day."
The Blue Jays got started early against Yankees right-hander Lance Lynn, batting around during a four-run first. Kendrys Morales, Kevin Pillar and Aledmys Diaz all had run-scoring singles as Toronto staked Stroman to a 4-0 lead before throwing a pitch, but the Yankees began chipping away right out of the gate.
Stroman allowed two two-out runs in the bottom of the first, on an RBI triple by Didi Gregorius and an RBI double by Miguel Andujar. Stroman held the Yankees scoreless the next two innings before New York took a 5-4 lead in the fourth inning on a three-run homer by Neil Walker. Stroman finished the inning and was taken off the hook for a loss when Toronto tied the game at 5 in the fifth on an RBI single by Devon Travis, but the righty didn't return for the bottom half of the frame.
Toronto hasn't been experiencing much luck with the weather of late either. Three of the Blue Jays' four games in Kansas City earlier this week were delayed because of rain, and it was an issue again in New York. After a Giancarlo Stanton homer off Luis Santos made it a 7-5 game in the bottom of the seventh inning, play was suspended and later called because of inclement weather.
"It affects both teams, so you just deal with it," Gibbons said of the 85-minute delay before the game was called. "It's not like it's the first time it has ever happened. This time of the year, everybody is tired to begin with. Everybody is professionals, so you just try to push through it as best you can."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
On the move: The Blue Jays were the victim of a perfectly executed hit-and-run in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Biagini induced what normally would have been an inning-ending double-play grounder off the bat of Andujar. The problem was that Aaron Hicks was running on the play and Travis vacated his position at second to cover the bag, allowing the ball to sneak through. Gleyber Torres later grounded into an RBI fielder's choice that scored the go-ahead run.
Going yard: Stroman made it through each of his last five starts without allowing a home run, but his good fortunes came to an end when Walker hit a three-run shot to right field that was projected by Statcast™ to travel 402 feet with an exit velocity of 101 mph. It was the first home run Stroman had allowed since Boston's Xander Bogaerts hit a solo homer off him on July 15.
Russell Martin (1-for-3) has reached base safely in 14 consecutive games and is batting .366/.509/.659 during that span with 10 runs, three doubles, three homers, seven RBIs and nine walks.
Right-hander Sean Reid-Foley (0-1, 5.40 ERA) will make the second start of his big league career when the Blue Jays continue their three-game series against the Yankees on Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium. Reid-Foley made his Major League debut earlier this week in Kansas City and allowed three runs over five innings while being saddled with the loss. New York will counter with ace right-hander Luis Severino (15-6, 3.27). First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET, but it is expected to be pushed back by approximately 30 minutes as the Yankees honor their 1998 World Series team in an on-field ceremony before the start of the game.