For Marcus Stroman things got rough right at the start of this one as Josh Harrison led off the game with a line drive that Michael Conforto seemed to be in that grey area between deciding to dive for it or not and a bad bounce sent the ball past him which provided the impetus the Nats needed to plate a first inning run.
You wonder how that play affected the rhythm for Stroman but he denied that after the game saying, “I have to make pitches and I trust my defense. Michael Conforto has made so many great plays for me and he will continue to make them for me. It was just one of those plays that happen in a baseball game.”
Conforto took full blame after the game when he said, “I likely should have laid back on that ball and when I did not the ball got past me. Nobody likes to make errors that cause unearned runs and on that throw to the plate I made in the second inning it was a poor throw on my part.”
Of course when you look at the Met defense this past week coupled with the inconsistency of the offense some wins have slid by the board. But Conforto thinks things will change when he said, “We know what type of team we are and things will get better. We know we can hit and also know we are the type of team that values the defensive side. It is early in the season and we have had stops and starts but I feel things will turn real soon.”
When you look at Stroman’s line 5 runs in 4 innings you might think he got pounded today but it really came down to a few walks and some clutch hitting by the Nats. “They had a really good approach”, said manager Luis Rojas, :and their game plan forced Stroman to deliver pitches more in the middle of the plate and that was a key in this one.” Rojas is right on target as Stroman gave up 8 hits and none one of them was an extra base hit but those back to back walks opening the second inning really did him in.
As the Mets have split their first 16 games you can readily see that the defense coupled with the lack of clutch hitting has derailed them in many games. Despite today’s performance from Stroman the starting pitching has really kept them at the 500 mark and the Met starter today realized that when Stroman said, “I just know we are going to see our hitters pound this year and to be honest the constant starting and stopping of the schedule has made it tough for them. As we get into the flow of the season things will heat up for them.”
Met fans hope Stroman is right as Taijuan Walker takes the hill on Sunday to try to lift the Mets to a series win over the Nationals. And if they accomplish that, it will put 3 series in the books at home against NL East rivals with a 6-2 record. And that is without the offense or defense hitting their stride. You can hear it in the tone of the comments from both Stroman and Conforto they know good times are coming despite all the anxiety that these early season games have put in their minds.
Quite frankly, there is too much talent on this roster for me to disagree with them but time will tell as we head into the second month of the 2021 season early next week.