Usually, a team that loses a pitcher like Jacob DeGrom for any period of time would be scrambling to figure out a way to fill that void.
The New York Mets are being justifiably cautious with their ace, who was placed on the 10-day injured list earlier this week. But the team has continued to roll with DeGrom watching, extending their winning streak to seven games with a two-game series sweep of the Baltimore Orioles.
The last two wins came in large part to the efforts of rising New York stars Marcus Stroman and Taijuan Walker. In sweeping the short series with the O’s, Stroman and Walker combined for back-to-back outstanding outings.
— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) May 12, 2021
In Tuesday’s 3-2 victory, Stroman gave up one run in 6.1 innings, earning a no-decision. It was his fourth start with at least six innings pitched while allowing one run or less.
Wednesday night, Walker earned his third win of the season after holding Baltimore to one run by scattering four hits over seven innings. For the third time in seven starts, he allowed one run or less.
On the strength of those showings, the Mets are the only team in the National League with three starters in the top 10 in earned run average.
The #Mets currently have three starting pitchers with ERAs under 3.00 in Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman & Taijuan Walker.
The last time the club had a trio of starters with ERAs under 3.00 (min. 40 IP) by the end of May was in 2016:
deGrom: 2.81 pic.twitter.com/5vEppewJeL
— Mathew Brownstein (@MBrownstein89) May 13, 2021
Don’t be distracted by their combined 6-4 record.
Run support has been a big problem for Stroman. The Mets scored three runs in his three losses, and have been held to two runs or less 10 times this season.
Still, Stroman’s current 2.01 ERA and .213 batting average allowed are the lowest marks he’s posted since 2015 when he went 4-0 for the Toronto Blue Jays.
And, in the age of power pitching, Stroman is pitching-pitching. He doesn’t walk hitters and he pitches to contact without giving up big innings, utilizing his defense
— MLB (@MLB) May 12, 2021
Tai Weezy has followed Stroman’s lead, needing just one more win to tie last season’s total. Opposing hitters are batting .170 against Walker and his 2.20 earned run average is a career-best. At 6’4”, and 235 pounds, Walker is more of a flame thrower than his teammate, striking out 39 in 41 innings.
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) May 12, 2021
The two hurlers have taken very different paths to get to this point.
Stroman has been on the baseball world’s radar ever since he was drafted in 2012. His talent was undeniable, but consistency was elusive. His trade to the Mets was an opportunity for a rebirth.
Before the season, Walker was an afterthought. An inexpensive, back of the rotation option. He didn’t get many looks as he entered the season still rebounding from Tommy John surgery two years ago.
Now, they’re shining as part of the best starting rotation in the majors.
And they’re doing it with style and with passion.
These Black Aces are the new Kings of Queens, and they may help carry the Mets to a division