Marcus Stroman has dreamed of this moment. Under the lights on the biggest stage in baseball. It becomes real tomorrow night at Citi Field…
Marcus Stroman wants this moment, this game against Stephen Strasburg (14-5, 3.72) and the Washington Nationals. A game that “counts” like no other he has pitched in. A game that also can jettison his team, the surging New York Mets into the thick of the National League Wild Card Race.
Marcus Stroman is built for this stage. He told the world of baseball he wanted the Yankees and Yankee Stadium. Brodie Van Wagenen saw it differently, executing a coup at the trade deadline that brought Stroman to Citi Field instead of the Bronx, in a deal that cemented the Mets starting rotation – not the Yankees. The tangled webs we weave…
Stroman goes to the mound tomorrow night knowing that behind him are the two Mets aces, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom, ready to seal the deal if he can take that all-important first game in the series.
Stroman also knows he’s taking the ball with his team riding a six-game win streak built on the bottom feeders of teams in the National League, and that things suddenly change with the Atlanta Braves on tap right after the Nationals. He’s in a pennant race, and so are the Mets.
This is baseball in August, and the Mets are playing games that matter. Who would have thought it was possible when Pete Alonso headed to Cleveland to put his stamp on the All-Star Game, with his team ten games under .500?
Mets Are Set To Meet The National’s Best
Here we are, and the Mets are gearing up to face Strasburg, Patrick Corbin (9-5, 3.43), and Anibal Sanchez (7-6, 3.67). National’s ace, Max Scherzer will miss the series and another start on the IL.
Strasburg has made two starts against the Mets at Citi Field this season, with a 1-0 record, and a sparking 1.32 ERA. He’s held the Mets to a .170 batting average over 17 innings. Strasburg has pitched in big games many times, and he figures to be the biggest challenge for the Mets in the series.
The same is not true of Corbin, who came over to the Nationals as a free agent from Pittsburgh. In four starts against the Mets this season, Corbin is 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA. That loss occurred at Citi Field where he has made two starts, surrendering seven runs in 11 innings pitched. A lefty, Corbin will be challenged facing the righties in the Mets lineup, Alonso, Todd Frazier, Wilson Ramos, and Amed Rosario.
Anibal Sanchez was signed to a 2-year deal by the Nationals during the offseason. At 35, Sanchez has bounced around between five teams. He has no record against the Mets this year. It figures to be the Mets good fortune he matches up with Jacob deGrom Sunday night.
Marcus Stroman has never faced the Nationals. Nor has he ever pitched at Citi Field where a boisterous and packed house is expected to be present. Right up his alley and just the way the Long Island native dreamed it would be.
A Homecoming For Marcus Stroman
At least 65 locals will join longtime Patchogue-Medford varsity baseball Coach Anthony Frascogna to cheer on Stroman, who grew up in Medford.
On the bench, cheering him on is Steven Matz, another Long Island native. Matz and Stroman were paired as both teammates and competitors during travel league ball when they were in their teens.
Noticeably, Matz has kicked it up a notch since Stroman joined the team with a sparking six-plus innings performance in the last game the Mets played in Miami.
Citi Field: The Joint Will Be Jumping
You’ll see a different Marcus Stroman from the effusive always smiling Stroman we see when he’s not on the mound. Animated and at times combative when he’s pitching, don’t be surprised if one or two National’s players get a bit agitated by Stroman’s antics and persona.
A big game. A big series. Who would have thought? The eyes of New York are focused on Citi Field this weekend. And Marcus Stroman is poised to grab the spotlight…