Less is more for Marcus Stroman — and the shorthanded Mets still need the most they can get out of him.
A late six-run rally sparked the Mets to a 10-5 win and took a shaky Stroman off the hook for the loss Sunday in the first game of a doubleheader against the Yankees. The best sign for Stroman was that he came out of the game after 87 pitches due to ineffectiveness and not because of the hip issue that shortened his previous two starts to one and three innings, respectively.
“I felt like my motion and delivery were out of sync. That’s something that can happen when you [sit] for seven days,” Stroman said. “I’m not too worried about it. I did my best to compete and keep my team in it as long as I could, but I wasn’t sharp from pitch one.”
The five-inning slog was the first time in 163 career MLB appearances that Stroman has pitched more than 1 ¹/₃ innings and failed to record a strikeout. He was charged with five runs — three earned — on six hits and a walk.
“I wasn’t pleased with how I pitched today, but body-wise I was pretty pleased,” Stroman said. “I didn’t feel my hip at all. Shout-out to the staff and everyone here for being on top of everything. To go out there and not feel my hip, to be able to get extension and do what I need to with my body, felt great.”
Stroman allowed three runs in the second but the inning might have looked much different if shortstop Francisco Lindor didn’t boot a possible double-play grounder to open the floodgates. The Yankees tacked on another run in the third before the Mets tied the score at 4-4 in the fourth inning.
Given new life, Stroman allowed back-to-back one-out singles and uncorked a high-and-inside wild pitch to plate the tie-breaking run in the fifth.
“I went back and looked at that pitch, and my hand pump got too high,” Stroman said. “Definitely trying to do too much in that particular instance. I’m always better when I try to do less. I tried to gear up and came out of my mechanics there.”
The Mets have Jacob deGrom and Taijuan Walker rolling atop the rotation but major questions at the back end, with the injured Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Carrasco still awaiting season debuts, Joey Lucchesi (Tommy John surgery) finished for the season and David Peterson sidelined. Stroman sits in the middle, with high-end potential if healthy as shown by the six straight quality starts that preceded his hip tightness on June 22.
“Not looking back at all,” Stroman said. “Hoping to make every single start from here out the rest of the year. I’ve been feeling [my hip] on and off, and it feels amazing to feel clear. There’s no more pain.”