Stro Show: Marcus Stroman dazzles as Cubs beat Mets, claim series victory
If you missed the Cubs’ 4-2 win over the Mets on Wednesday night, you missed a vintage “Stro Show.”
Marcus Stroman did it all — he pitched 8 innings of 2-run ball, stymying a potent Mets’ offense and turned in a pair of defensive gems to help the Cubs win their first series since the first week of May against the Marlins. They had lost 4 straight series before their series win over the Mets.
“The sinker was sankin’, right?” catcher Tucker Barnhart said. “It was fun. Nights like tonight when he has the sinker moving like that, it’s really tough to beat. It seemed like they didn’t make an adjustment to it, so we just kept going to the well and it worked.
“When he’s like that, it makes it really easy on us behind the plate. Love the way he competed. Made a couple really nice plays on comebackers. Just really fun to catch.”
Stroman had 88 pitches in the 8 innings and threw his sinker 53 times, inducing 15 groundball outs and never allowing the Mets to really barrel any pitches.
“I feel like everything kinda clicked,” Stroman said. “I feel like we’ve been working on so much between [pitching coach] Tommy [Hottovy], [assistant pitching coach Daniel] Moskos and myself mechanically and I feel like I was just very dialed in for probably like 80-90% of my pitches. So, I feel like that’s just a product of all the work that has gone in.”
His lone mistake came in the 3rd inning when he allowed a single to Mark Canha and then a home run to the next batter, Francisco Alvarez — a piercing line drive that cut through the wind and landed in the left field bleachers for a 2-0 lead.
But Stroman rallied to strike out Brandon Nimmo and induce a flyout from Francisco Lindor, one of his three flyball outs.
The Cubs’ offense immediately responded, scoring 3 runs on a pair of RBI doubles from Dansby Swanson and Seiya Suzuki and an RBI single from Mike Tauchman.
“[Mets’ starter Kodai] Senga’s really good,” Stroman said. “Like his stuff is elite. So being able to battle, battle and get him out of the game early, I think that was pretty awesome. That shows you kind of 1 through 9 [their] approach and kinda everyone sticking true to it. I think our guys did an incredible job.”
Stroman cruised from there, inducing double plays to escape any jam, including one in the 6th inning that he helped start on a comebacker that he flipped to Swanson to start it.
In the 8th inning, with a pair of runners on and one out, Stroman ended his outing in a manner befitting of his day — an Alvarez groundball to Swanson for an inning-ending double play.
“It’s huge,” Nico Hoerner said. “Those double plays are real game-changing plays today.”
Stroman walked off the Wrigley Field mound to applause from the 33,636 in attendance and responded by waving his hands up and down to show his appreciation. Manager David Ross knew there wouldn’t be a 9th inning in the cards for him, but that was OK.
“I try to read the moment, I liked that pocket for [Mark] Leiter [Jr.],” Ross said. “It was really nice setup for him. That would’ve been his last batter in the 8th no matter what at the bottom there with Alvarez.
“A couple walks in that inning before. Just some little indicators that might be getting a little fatigued.”
That was fine with Stroman, too — but he’s still eager to have a complete game under his belt with the Cubs.
“I want a CG more than anything, to be honest with you. That’s kinda why I put as much work as I do is to go out there and go 7, 8, 9 innings,” Stroman said. “I definitely think I could’ve gone out there for the 9th, but Mark was great. Mark’s been throwing the ball incredible. I think Rossy made a great decision there to go with Mark.”