Marcus Stroman tabbed to start Opening Day for Cubs at Wrigley Field
MESA, Ariz. — Marcus Stroman has already pitched under the bright lights this year, taking the ball for Puerto Rico’s quarterfinal game of the World Baseball Classic.
Now, he’ll have his second big start of the year, as he’ll take the ball on Opening Day for the Cubs.
Beyond thankful and grateful to be named the Opening Day starter for this year. Truly can’t wait to feel the energy in Wrigley. CUBS fans…THANK YOU in advance for the passion and vibe y’all provide each and every day. Can’t wait to compete for you all year! 🗣️ @Cubs— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) March 22, 2023
The Cubs haven’t officially announced their Opening Day starter, but it was expected — and lined up — to be Stroman.
“I told Rossy that straight up, I said, if you want me to have it, I would love to have it,” Stroman said Tuesday. “But if you want anybody else to have it, like I’m trying to make 33, 34 starts and that’s the goal. Doesn’t matter if I’m pitching one or pitching five out of the gate.”
He’ll be tasked with setting the tone for the Cubs when they take on the Brewers at Wrigley Field next Thursday. Signed before last year’s lockout, Stroman battled through a bout of COVID early in the season, but later returned to be the starter they hoped they were getting when the Cubs signed him.
Over his last 16 starts last season, Stroman posted a 2.56 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP with 74 strikeouts in 91.1 innings.
“I felt like that was truly reminiscent of who I could be as a pitcher,” Stroman said of the stretch. “And like I said, whether it be myself [Hayden] Wesneski, [Drew] Smyly, [Kyle] Hendricks, I feel like we have a bunch of aces on our team.
“I’m trying to go out there and throw 200 innings. And that doesn’t matter if you start on the rotation at one or five. My goal is the same.”
The Cubs and Stroman trust and know that he’ll be ready for that environment. The WBC prepped him for it.
“Now it’s just a matter of kind of getting my next start in, working on some things in the bullpen,” Stroman said. “But like I said, I feel ready, especially after going out there and competing with that adrenaline and that pressure. I feel like I’m ready to go.”