Jacob deGrom’s otherworldly statistics aren’t the only reason the Mets’ pitching staff has posted the second-lowest collective ERA in baseball this season.
Marcus Stroman has been putting up All-Star caliber numbers, as well, and that continued when he pitched 6 ¹/₃ innings of one-run ball in Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Padres at Citi Field.
The Long Island product allowed six hits — including a solo homer by Fernando Tatis Jr. — with one walk and eight strikeouts, improving to 6-4 with a 2.32 ERA in 14 starts this season.
When you combine Stroman’s numbers with those of deGrom (MLB-leading 0.56 ERA) and Taijuan Walker (2.07), the Mets’ top trio of starters is now a combined 17-8 with a scintillating 1.67 ERA over 35 starts (204 ²/₃ innings pitched).
Francisco Lindor also continued to heat up after a rough offensive start in his first season with the Mets, ripping a two-run homer in the first inning, his sixth of the year. Jonathan Villar (sixth) also went deep against reliever Pierce Johnson leading off the eighth to give the Mets a 4-1 lead.
The NL East-leading Mets (32-24) plated three runs in 6 ¹/₃ innings against San Diego righty Joe Musgrove, the author of the first no-hitter in Padres history, on April 9 against the Rangers.
Those runs were all that Stroman needed to record his third consecutive victory, including two straight against the Padres after also throwing 6 ²/₃ strong innings against them last Sunday in San Diego.
The 30-year-old Stroman allowed just one runner to reach second base over his first six innings of work Saturday. Tommy Pham singled and stole second in the sixth, but Stroman responded by striking out Trent Grisham and retiring Manny Machado on a grounder to third. He finished with 10 ground-ball outs and just one out recorded in the air.
“It’s just the stuff, just how it plays,” manager Luis Rojas said of Stroman before the game. “You’ve got to look up at the radar just to see what [pitch] it was. Because from the side, from our view, everything has depth, everything moves and sometimes you see a batter swinging out front, and you think it’s a changeup, and you see that it’s a sinker at 94 [miles per hour] that just disappeared.
“His stuff is unbelievable, and that’s why batters tap it and they get on top of it because he has that late sinking movement.”
On May 27, Lindor has a slash line of .182/.289/.266 with just three home runs through his first 42 games, but the shortstop continued his recent resurgence by clocking a 92-mph fastball from Musgrove into the 7 Line Army fan section in right-center for his third home run in his past 13 games.
Lindor also scored the Mets’ third run against Musgrove after working a leadoff walk in the sixth. He crossed the plate on Dom Smith’s infield out following Pete Alonso’s single to right.
Leading off the following inning, Tatis finally got San Diego on the board by crushing Stroman’s 0-1 slider into the seats in left for his 18th of the season, making the score 3-1.
Aaron Loup replaced Stroman (85 pitches) following a one-out walk, and the lefty reliever combined with Seth Lugo (three strikeouts) and Edwin Diaz (12th save) to record the final eight outs of the Mets’ third straight win and fifth in their last six games.