Marcus Stroman had a night he’ll never forget as he led the Toronto Blue Jay’s 8-0 demolition of World Series champs Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre on Thursday evening.
The right-handed starting pitcher threw out seven scoreless innings which went for just a single hit while taking seven strikeouts.
Playing like a veteran
Over his previous 10 MLB starts Stroman has an incredible 2.21 ERA and was awarded five wins and just two losses in that time.
All this from a pitcher who made his MLB career debut this year on May 31 aged just 23.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said it felt like the youngster had been around forever.
Speaking to MLB.com, Gibbons said: “He’s pitching like a veteran who has been around a long time. He has the great arm, he has the pitches and all that, but the big thing about him is that he is a great competitor.”
And according to the same source, the pitcher leads the Blue Jay bullpen in nearly every department, including strikeout and walk rates.
It's been coming
Although Stroman’s rise has been rapid since his big league debut two months ago, the Blue Jays will not have been too surprised by his achievements.
They signed the rookie as a first-round Draft pick two years ago and aged just 21 he made steady progress through the minor leagues.
Stroman spent the first two months of the season at Triple-A outfit Buffalo Bisons, an affiliate club to the Blue Jays, before being promoted to the Majors.
Yesterday was Stroman’s best performance, beating July 4’s effort at Oakland Athletics when he pitched seven scoreless frames and conceded just three hits.
Taking it to the Red Sox
The right-hander carved up the 2013 World Series winners as he leaked just two walks and the only hit came from Shane Victorino who nicked a single down centre in the seventh inning.
Along with Stroman’s magnificent work, the Blue Jays offence gave him a healthy early lead to play with. Toronto raced into a five-run lead at the end of the third inning.
Juan Francisco was the highlight of the batting line-up after putting on a season-high four runs in a 3-for-4.
He began with a triple in the third and made it home off of a RBI double by Ryan Goins and then smashed a two-run homer – his 15th of the season – which also came in the third inning.
The 27-year-old third baseman then hit a bases-loaded two-run single in the fifth to see the Blue Jays elevated to 7-0.
Toronto have hit some impressive form after the All-Star break, winning two series back-to-back for the first time since mid-May, when they won a mammoth five consecutive series.
The win maintained Toronto’s (54-49) third position in the hugely competitive American League West division while Boston (47-55) are starting to get cut adrift at the bottom of the league, 9.5 games behind the leaders Baltimore Orioles.