Mets P Marcus Stroman out to keep Padres offense bottled up

MLB

If everything goes as the New York Mets envision, Saturday afternoon will mark just another game started by Marcus Stroman, and not his first as the Mets’ new ace.

The Mets, fresh off an injury scare involving Jacob deGrom, will look to clinch a series against the visiting San Diego Padres when Stroman takes the mound.

Stroman (5-4, 2.41 ERA) is slated to oppose Joe Musgrove (4-5, 2.33) in a battle of right-handers.

deGrom earned the win Friday night, when he continued his historic start to the season before exiting with right flexor tendinitis following six innings of one-hit scoreless ball in the Mets’ 3-2 victory.

deGrom struck out 10 and lowered his ERA to 0.56, the lowest ERA through 10 starts in major league history since earned runs became an official stat in 1913, per MLB Stat. He also delivered the decisive two-run single in the fifth. He has more RBIs (five) than earned runs allowed (four).

But deGrom acknowledged after the game he felt some soreness in his right flexor in the five days leading up to the start. Still, while the initial diagnosis for the hard-throwing deGrom — in addition to regularly uncorking 93 mph sliders, he entered Friday having thrown 121 pitches clocked at 100 mph or higher — sounded ominous, the two-time National League Cy Young Award winner said he felt better after the game and was confident the ailment was not serious.

“I’m not too concerned about it because it didn’t get much worse as the game went on,” said deGrom, who underwent Tommy John surgery following his first year of pro ball in 2010 and had the ulnar nerve repositioned in his right elbow in September 2016. “But I’ve had a couple of elbow issues before and I know what that feels like, so my level of concern is not too high. I’m pretty optimistic about it and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be something that we can treat and hopefully not miss any time.”

As dominant as deGrom has been this season, Stroman has been the Mets’ most consistent starter. He and David Peterson are the only members of the Opening Day rotation to make every scheduled start thus far.

But while Peterson has a 6.37 ERA, Stroman entered Friday with the 10th-best ERA in the NL while pitching at least six innings in each of his past six starts and in nine of 12 starts overall. Stroman earned the win against the Padres last Sunday when he allowed an unearned run over 6 2/3 innings in the Mets’ 6-2 victory.

The Padres hope a comeback attempt on Friday against the Mets’ bullpen — Jake Cronenworth hit a two-run homer in the seventh and the potential go-ahead run stepped to the plate in the eighth and ninth innings — sparks an offense that has been slumping for most of the month. San Diego has scored just four runs in the past three games and has scored more than three runs twice in 10 games in June.

“You never want to lose, it always hurts, but I did like what I saw offensively in the seventh, eighth and ninth,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said. “It doesn’t lighten up. But it does give us an opportunity to beat a really good pitcher (Saturday).”

Musgrove took the loss against the Mets June 5, when he gave up three runs over five innings as the Padres fell 4-0 to deGrom.

Stroman is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in three career starts against the Padres. Musgrove is 1-3 with a 6.11 ERA in four games (three starts) against the Mets.

–Field Level Media

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