Aug 22, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (54) throws against the Tampa Bay Rays in the first inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Blue Jays: Marcus Stroman Continues to Struggle

August has proved to be a nightmare for the Toronto Blue Jays, who have so far recorded just five wins against 13 losses. On a more individual level, Marcus Stroman has also endured a tough month.

The pitcher’s poor form continued Friday, allowing 10 hits and six runs (five earned) in five innings, as the Blue Jays lost 8-0 to the Tampa Bay Rays. Buck Martinez and Joe Siddall of Sportsnet discussed Stroman’s performance after the game:

In Stroman’s defence, two hits from the home team didn’t exactly help. However, there’s no denying the 23-year old is struggling.

Entering this month, Stroman had an impressive 7-2 record in 11 starts. However, during August he has gone 0-3 in four starts, which includes a worryingly high ERA of 8.66.

The nightmare began in Houston, as the 5′ 9″ pitcher allowed seven hits and five runs in just three innings against the lowly Astros. He appeared to right the ship in his next appearance against the Detroit Tigers, pitching nine strong innings in a game the Blue Jays eventually won 3-2 in the tenth.

Unfortunately, the former 22nd overall draft pick suffered his worst performance of the season when he faced the Chicago White Sox. He didn’t even get out of the first inning, allowing five hits and five runs, all earned.

Opinion is split on Stroman, with some people saying he’s just running out of steam in his first season in the majors, while others claim opponents have finally worked him out. Personally, I believe it’s the former, especially when you consider performances such as this one against the Boston Red Sox just last month:

It will be interesting to see what the innings limit is for Stroman in 2014. (He currently sits at 92.) You often see young pitchers tire as they progress through the season.

On the one side it would be tempting to sit the righty before his confidence is affected any further. However, manager John Gibbons may want to see how Stroman responds to the first sign of adversity in his career.

My take would be to give the Medford, New York native two more starts to see if he can right the ship, and then pull the plug if the slump continues. With the Blue Jays postseason hopes fading fast, it’s not worth further damaging the psyche of a player who could potentially be part of the starting rotation for many years to come.

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