Your reply to
TORONTO - They thought Marcus Stroman could be really good. The young man, never lacking confidence, thought he could be really good. But there were issues the young pitcher needed to work out. Would Stroman be able to stay on top of his four-seam fastball often enough to prevent it from riding up in the zone, which had been a repeated issue for a pitcher of his diminutive size? Did his stuff, a plus fastball and a nasty curveball/slider combination, translate better to late-game relief or would he be a starter? Since his second recall and insertion into the starting rotation, Stroman hasnt been really good. Hes been great. And he isnt the pitcher they thought he would be. He isnt the pitcher he thought he would be. Whats changed? Stroman has developed a sinking fastball which, for the 23-year-old Long Islander, is a game-changer. "That pitch has allowed me to be so much more efficient," said Stroman. "Whereas everyone used to say he cant go deep into games, go deep into games, hes too whatever, whatever, whatever, its really allowed me to go deep into games because its a pitch that I can rely on to keep on the ground. I get big double plays when I need them with that pitch and I get a lot of early outs. I dont have to be as fine with that pitch when Im throwing it." Exhibit A of the new, efficient, Stroman is his most recent start, a 93-pitch, three-hit shutout of the Chicago Cubs on Monday night. He recorded 15 groundball outs (14 groundballs, one of which was a double play) and other than a first inning comeback line drive which almost beheaded Stroman, nary a ball was hit hard. You get the sense Stroman is surprising even himself. "I would have never gone 93 pitches, nine innings ever the way I used to pitch," said Stroman. "It wasnt realistic. I was a four-seam guy; I was a strikeout guy. I always had pretty good control but I always used to have to worry about really locating my heater." The metamorphosis began in the most innocent of ways. It was around the All-Star Break when Stroman, coming off a trying start against the Angels in Anaheim, was sitting in his apartments living room with a baseball in hand. He was, as he said he often does, messing around with different grips. He came across something that "felt right" in his hand. Stroman decided he would take the grip into his next bullpen session. He liked what he saw. He didnt change his release point. The ball naturally sank. Confident he could execute the pitch in major league game action, Stroman experimented in his first post-All-Star Break start, which featured seven innings of shutout ball in a Blue Jays 4-1 win over Texas on July 19. Stroman knew he had something when he froze Shin-Soo Choo with a full count sinker. "He just took it and walked back because Id never thrown it," said Stroman. "That might have been the first one I threw in that game, the second one I threw in that game and after I threw that pitch and I had that movement on it and I saw his take, thats when it started to take off." Stroman has trouble describing how he grips the pitch. "Its not your conventional two-seam by any means," said Stroman. "Thats what I used to try and throw and I had no success with it. I hold all my pitches pretty weird. I kind of just threw my spin and torque the ball in my hand like I do a lot of my pitches with the two-seam and felt really comfortable." Stroman was a high strikeout, high flyball minor league pitcher. Now, hes working a 55-percent groundball rate. The punch outs still will be there but they wont be as frequent. Stromans struck out 20.7-percent of big league hitters hes faced. He fanned 30.8-percent of hitters at Triple-A Buffalo but that was back when he was a different pitcher. Last year, at Double-A New Hampshire, his strikeout rate was 28.1-percent. Some of the strikeout regression is, no doubt, the result of facing big league hitters. But the new approach factors in, too. Stroman still has the plus four-seam fastball. Hes still got his filthy curveball and slider. The sinker gives him yet another look, another way to get hitters out. He can never have too many options. "Im still throwing all the pitches, it just gives me another pitch to rely on too," said Stroman. "Im always going to throw all my pitches. Im not necessarily going to take pitches out but having a sinker definitely helps, especially since Im a starter and the whole goal of being a starter is to keep your team in the game, late into games." Adidas Neo Lite Racer Norge . Judging by his performance Saturday night, Cotto has plenty left in the tank. Cotto became the first Puerto Rican fighter to win world championships in four weight divisions, stopping Sergio Martinez in their WBC world middleweight title fight Saturday night. Adidas Nmd Xr1 Norge . Not that Durant cared. The only streak he cares about is still intact. http://www.nmdnorgesalg.com/nmd-r1-sko-norge.html. Cabrera is hitting .218 with three homers and 16 RBI in 80 games this season. The Padres recalled second baseman Brooks Conrad from Triple-A El Paso to replace Cabrera on the roster. Nmd Sko Salg . "Weve given ourselves now a tougher task," said Carlyle after the Friday practice, the Toronto head coach notably chipper and upbeat throughout. "But the bottom line is we just have to win our share of games [and] not worry about what anybody else is doing. Adidas Eqt Norge . The 31-year-old, a two-time CFL lineman of the year, was among the most coveted free agents on the market. The Windsor, Ont., native will be especially important to a team that has lost veteran quarterback Anthony Calvillo to retirement and is expected to go with the less experienced Troy Smith and Tanner Marsh this season.Miss the Friday action from the two practice sessions at the Chinese Grand Prix? Fear not, as Sky Sports F1s David Croft and Paul di Resta are at hand with a fast-paced video wrap of the opening days highlights - including the tyre dramas of Practice One.Theres also a brake fire for Haas in P2, and even off-track excursions for Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. We also hear from a number of drivers, including Ferraris pacesetting pair Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.Hit play on the video above to watch the best of the action.Watch the Chinese GP weekend - LIVE ONLY on Sky Sports F1. The race starts at 7am oon Sunday, with build-up underway from 5.dddddddddddd.30am. Or watch without a contract for £6.99 on NOW TV. Every race live in 2016 Sky Sports F1 brings you every race live in 2016. Fast and easy online upgrade - click here. Also See: WATCH: Tyre drama in P1 Ferrari lead the way in Practice Two ' ' '