Stroman's debut supercharged by batterymate

Ramos drives in six runs, giving Mets a win in starter's no-decision

August 4th, 2019

PITTSBURGH -- When the Mets acquired , they knew what they were getting: a ton of energy, limited homers allowed, a Gold Glove fielder and a competitor in every sense of the word.

They got all of that in Stroman’s debut with the team on Saturday night at PNC Park, though a long first inning hurt the new acquisition’s ability to work deep. But a big day by his new batterymate, , helped the Mets start a new winning streak with a 7-5 victory over the Pirates.

The Mets’ bats gave Stroman an early run, but the right-hander, acquired from the Blue Jays for two pitching prospects, gave up four consecutive singles before recording his first out. Stroman also made his first highlight-reel play for the Mets with a ranging, barehanded grab to nab Starling Marte rushing home.

“He was out there doing everything he [could] to keep guys from scoring, and that includes making unbelievable defensive plays,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “I was really proud of him.”

But Stroman left the inning with the Mets down a run and already at 35 pitches of the 90-95 pitch range that Callaway expected Stroman to operate within. After allowing a pair of one-out singles in the bottom of the second, Stroman found his groove and retired eight batters in a row before a double and a one-out walk chased him in the fifth.

“I thought it was OK,” Stroman said of his 4 1/3-inning debut. “Obviously, going five is where I should be, at least, at the minimum. I just felt like I was a little all over the place. Command was a little iffy, but [my] body felt great. Just make a few adjustments with my mechanics and I think I’ll be where I need to be for my next one.”

“His command got much better,” Callaway said of Stroman's outing. “He started getting into a nice rhythm where he was locating his sinker and his slider to that outer corner, and when he does that, he’s going to be tough.”

The Mets’ offense looked to be headed for another disappointing night of production and an inability to pick up their starters, after going quiet following a quick start in Friday’s 8-4 loss that ended the team’s seven-game winning streak. But after provided a spark with a solo homer in the seventh, Ramos did the heavy lifting with five of his six RBIs coming in two late-inning swings of the bat.

Ramos, another fairly new addition to the Mets as an offseason acquisition, launched a two-run home run in the eighth, then a bases-clearing double in the ninth after the Pirates intentionally walked , putting the game out of reach.

“I was feeling great at the plate, driving the ball the other way,” said Ramos, who finished 4-for-5 and a triple shy of the cycle. “That’s my approach all my career, and today, I was feeling good to drive the ball to the other way.”

Stroman gave Ramos a shoutout for the run support after the game, but also was taken aback by how quickly Ramos adjusted to his own low-zone tendencies, which are quite different from the Mets’ rear-and-fire arms like Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom. Stroman and Ramos hadn’t even thrown a bullpen session together before Saturday night’s game, though the two discussed their plans in the days leading up to it.

“[Ramos] did great,” Stroman said. “My stuff moves a lot, so between my sinker, my slider, my cutter, it’s not easy to handle. I thought he did a really good job.”

“It’s different from, like, a Spring Training: You’ve got a lot of opportunity to catch guys’ bullpen [sessions], simulated games, but during the season, it’s very hard,” Ramos said of the adjustment. “We’ve got really good communication. I saw a couple of videos of him pitching with Toronto, but I was trying to do my best. He threw the ball well, so we’ll see how his next start [goes].”

Stroman didn’t earn a victory, but he kept the Mets in the game well enough to give Ramos and the offense time to start a new winning streak. The resiliency after a disappointing loss Friday left a good taste for the days ahead, and Callaway thinks that battle mentality has begun to become more and more common for his team.

“I don’t think we’ve ever given up, but we’ve just got to get it done,” Callaway said. “And it seems like we’re getting it done now.”