On Baseball: NH's Stroman takes flight
Even though Marcus Stroman was the losing pitcher in the New Hampshire Fisher Cats' 3-1 loss to New Britain on Tuesday night, there was plenty to like about his performance.
Stroman set a career-high for strikeouts by fanning 13 in the loss. The 13 strikeouts also tied the franchise record for strikeouts in a game set by Gustavo Chacin in 2004.
"He was just throwing the ball by them," Fisher Cats pitching coach Tom Signore said. "They didn't have a chance.
"He has electric stuff every time he goes out there. It's just a matter of if he commands it or not."
Signore said there was nothing extraordinary about Stroman's bullpen session before the game, but added that it became obvious in the first inning that Stroman was going to be tough to hit that night.
"You can tell when a pitcher is feeling good," he said. "They get in that rhythm. They want the ball back quickly. They want that sign down quickly. They want to make that next pitch because they're executing very well that day."
Stroman, 22, spent three years at Duke and was Toronto's first-round pick (22nd overall) in last year's draft. Several publications list him as the No. 4 prospect in Toronto's organization.
Stroman allowed three runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings against New Britain. Sixty two of his 99 pitches were strikes.
"My slider was the best it's been all year," he said. "I felt like I could throw it in any count. It's probably the sharpest and had the most bite it's had in a while.
"It's usually my go-to pitch anyway, but I've been working on it trying to create depth. The goal is have it look like a fastball coming out of my hand, and the last couple feet to drop down. That's exactly the action it had.
"I would have liked to get the win, but it was definitely a stepping stone to my next start."
Stroman was suspended for 50 games last August for testing positive for methylhexanamine, a banned substance. He's 4-2 with a 3.38 ERA in nine starts this season. He has 50 strikeouts in 42 2/3 innings and opposing batters are hitting .235 against him.
His career high for strikeouts in a game while in college is 17. That came in seven innings against George Washington.
Signore said Stroman has to work on his delivery so that the ball travels downhill after it leaves his hand.
"We have got to get some sort of downhill plane with him so the hitter only sees the top half of the ball," he said. "It's tougher for a hitter to hit a ball coming at an angle than one coming in flat. When he repeats that consistently, it'll be time for him to move on.
"If he can do that, he will no longer need to be here. He's close."
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New Hampshire infielder Ryan Schimpf entered Thursday night's game against Binghamton with a league-leading 16 home runs. … Binghamton began the night with three players among the top 10 Eastern League players in batting average: right fielder Cesar Puello (.329/third), designated hitter Allan Dykstra (.316/fifth) and third baseman Josh Rodriguez (.300/ninth). …
Thursday's game was the first of a five-game series with Binghamton.
Sean Nolin pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning and his teammates pounded out 11 hits to lead the Fisher Cats to a 6-1 win over the Rock Cats in New Britain, Conn., on Wednesday.
Nolin, 5-2, allowed five hits and no runs. He fanned seven and walked two.
Ryan Schimpf had three hits, including a homer. Clint Robinson added three hits and Brad Glenn cracked a pair of doubles.