Weekend Wrap: The Strogglin’ Edition

Marcus Stroman
Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

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Unlike most Weekend Wraps this one is going to be entirely about one subject, Marcus Stroman. It’s also late (sorry). It’s also still sponsored by the folks at Draft Kings! Get your daily fantasy sports thing on at Draft Kings! Go on, try it!

Well that sure as hell wasn’t a lot of fun. Marcus Stroman once again got teed-off on by a good AL East offence, and the conversation this weekend turned ugly. Justifiably.

Or, at least, justifiably to an extent. Something isn’t right with Stroman, and so not only have all the old questions about his height, his downward plane, and the durability of pitchers of his stature arisen, but a whole new and utterly ridiculous line of thinking has, too: that Stroman is the new Ricky Romero.

That notion is too easily destroyed that I won’t spend much time on it. Stroman is not a cross-body throwing left-hander with knee ligaments that have been ground to a fine paste. Stroman hasn’t entirely lost his ability to throw strikes. Stroman is a completely different pitcher and athlete, and there is no degenerative physical issue — as far as we know — that’s preventing him from ever being the pitcher he was before. Oh, but is he a very good pitcher who has inexplicably started to struggle and happens to not be a boring white guy?

Hmmm. I wonder why that comparison — which has the added pissbaby benefit of ending in an absolute worst-case Ontario — is the one that immediately jumps to peoples’ mind?

But I use the word “justifiably” because we’ve indisputably reached the point where the idea of a demotion, which we’ve only mostly joked about until now, has to enter the conversation. There are a bunch of reasons why that’s probably not — or shouldn’t — going to be the course they take, but we at least have to think about it. It’s not good for neither him nor the team to have him keep going out there and getting his ass handed to him.

But what does a demotion do, exactly? Is there something he’d be sent to Buffalo to work on besides “confidence”? And do we really believe a lack of confidence is what’s behind this hiccup?

A trip to Buffalo would at least maybe help the team in the short term — though I don’t think taking your chances on Stroman getting right in his next start is such a bad option when your alternative is taking your chances with Drew Hutchison — but that’s an awfully complicated scenario in terms of the mental side, and the people-managing side of the game, and one that may not necessarily be the best for the club in the long run.

With that in mind, I look at the schedule and see why the Jays would be inclined to keep riding with him and going for the best. With two off days this week, Stroman isn’t scheduled to pitch again until Sunday. He could use the rest simply because of the innings limit we know he’s on (he currently sits 6th in the AL in innings pitched — and many of those, of late, haven’t been terribly efficient), but maybe it will help in terms of fatigue, too. The fact that he’s saying he doesn’t have a feel for his pitches and seems to be leaving too many elevated maybe points to simply that. Furthermore, if the rotation stays as is, he’s slated to face the White Sox, Diamondbacks, and Royals in his next three starts. Those lineups don’t exactly possess the relentless firepower of the Orioles or Red Sox — teams, perhaps not coincidentally to his struggles, Stroman has faced in four of his last five starts (and in two additional times earlier in the year).

The howls will only grow louder if he Stroggles again in Chicago — especially from the play-the-white-way slugs who suddenly have crawled out of the woodwork to try and make his personality an issue — but ultimately I think we can pretty easily understand why the team would see the cost of a trip to Buffalo as greater than the cost of trying again and believing in his ability to get right.

It sucks that we’re having this conversation, but this conversation doesn’t have to suck as much as some people seem determined to make it. We haven’t seen a lot of light at the tunnel yet, but that doesn’t mean it’s not ridiculous to act like it might not be around the bend.

Next up…

Monday – OFF

Tuesday vs. Arizona, 7:07 PM ET

Wednesday vs. Arizona, 4:07 PM ET

Thursday – OFF

Friday @ Chicago (AL), 7:10 PM ET

Saturday – Sunday @ Chicago (AL), 2:10 PM ET

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