Toronto Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman and his ailing finger pointed the blame at himself for his most recent outing.
“I just had no feel today,” he said. “I didn’t make the pitches I needed to and I kind of paid the price. I didn’t execute.”
Stroman was pulled in the second inning after allowing four runs and six hits as the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 7-1 on Monday.
The 27-year-old was making his first start since Aug. 17. Stroman (4-9) was activated from the disabled list after a struggling with recurring finger blister that refused to fully heal between scheduled starts.
Despite over two weeks off before coming back against the Rays (74-63), Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said Stroman is still dealing with the injury.
“There’s no doubt it’s still bothering him,” he said. “More than anything, it’s the grip and feel.”
The Blue Jays (62-75) have little to compete for in the standings down the stretch. The club’s top players have been traded to contenders and playoff aspirations are non-existent.
Priding himself a fighter, Stroman shot down the suggestion of shutting down for the remainder of the season.
“I like to compete. I don’t like sitting. I only get to go out there one every five days to begin with,” he said. “Being out there every fifth day is a priority. I hate being on the DL. I hate watching. I hate not being out there. It frustrates me. It kills me inside, honestly. I’m going to do everything in my power to be out there.”
Stroman said his finger looked like it had a hole in it ten days ago and credited the training staff for preparing him to make his return Monday.
However, the trainers will likely err on the side of caution regarding Stroman’s immediate future.
“That’s probably what’s going to happen,” Gibbons said at the suggestion of shutting Stroman down. “We’ll have to see, I don’t know yet. In all fairness to him. It’s clearly affecting him, there’s no doubt.”
Yonny Chirinos (3-5) was solid in relief for Tampa Bay. Pitching after starter Ryne Stanek was pulled following one inning, Chirinos allowed just one run, four hits and three walks over seven innings of work. He also struck out five batters.
The Rays opened the scoring in the first inning. Tommy Pham hit an RBI single to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead.
Tampa Bay would pad their lead in the second inning. Mallex Smith hit an RBI single. Matt Duffy would follow with a two-run double to give Tampa Bay a 4-0 lead.
Later in the inning, the Blue Jays got on the scoreboard. Teoscar Hernandez hit an RBI single to cut the Rays lead to 4-1.
The Rays restored their four-run lead in the third. Kevin Kiermaier hit an RBI single that gave Tampa Bay a 5-1 advantage.
The Rays made it 6-1 in the fifth inning when Blue Jays reliever Tim Mayza threw a wild pitch that allowed Pham to score from third base.
In the seventh, Ji-Man Choi hit a solo homer to give Tampa Bay a 7-1 lead.