Stroman's efficient gem gives 'pen a break

July 21st, 2021

CINCINNATI -- Entering Wednesday, it had been two full weeks since a Mets starter had thrown a pitch in the seventh inning. New York starting pitchers had averaged four outs per game over their previous three games, forcing the team to ask its bullpen for 22 innings in three days. Each morning, the Mets swapped pitchers from Triple-A Syracuse onto their roster to ensure they had enough manpower for 27 outs.

Then, finally, offered a reprieve. His eight innings of one-hit, shutout ball in the Mets’ 7-0 win over the Reds on Wednesday gave them far more of a lift than the stat sheet even indicated, preserving an ultra-taxed bullpen in advance of a stretch of 18 games in 17 days.

“That’s what I look forward to doing each and every time out,” Stroman said. “That’s my goal. I feel like that’s the standard. Anything other than that, I’m never really, truly happy with myself.

“Obviously, it’s been a struggle for our bullpen, a bunch of guys being used over the last few days. So any time I can come in and be a huge sense of relief and go deep into the games … I think that’s awesome.”

After hitting the first batter of the game at Great American Ball Park with a pitch, Stroman allowed virtually nothing else over eight innings. A leadoff hit in the third and a two-out walk in the seventh were the only other blemishes on Stroman’s line, which included seven strikeouts. In the process, he lowered his ERA to 2.59.

“We ran into a good one today,” Reds manager David Bell said. “He was at his best. Just a lot of movement on his pitches. Did a great job of changing speeds. He just pitched a really solid game against us and was able to shut us down.”

So sharp was Stroman that he completed his eight innings on only 90 pitches (60 strikes), setting up a chance for his second career shutout (and first in seven years). But Mets manager Luis Rojas decided that Stroman had given the Mets enough, turning to Jeurys Familia for a perfect ninth.

For the Mets on this day, personal accolades were not top-of-mind. Currently operating without injured starters Jacob deGrom, Joey Lucchesi, David Peterson and others, the team simply needs as much length as possible from rotation stalwarts Stroman and Taijuan Walker.

“I think that’s the biggest goal,” Stroman said. “This is a long year, and you guys have seen how much adversity we’ve had, how many guys have hit the IL. So I think it’s a huge point of emphasis any time we can get a starter to go deep.”