Stroman’s struggles taking center stage as Cubs add at the deadline
Reinforcements are on the way for the Cubs but the biggest question surrounding this team over the final two months will be how to get Marcus Stroman right again.
The veteran right-hander struggled again Monday at Wrigley Field, lasting only 3 innings and surrendering 6 runs in a 6-5 loss to the 1st-place Reds. It dropped the Cubs 5 games behind the division leaders in the NL Central.
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Over his last 7 starts, Stroman (10-8) has a 9.00 ERA and 1.93 WHIP that has pushed his overall season ERA to 3.85.
He carried a 2.28 mark after his June 20 start as he built a slam-dunk All-Star case and some legitimate buzz that he could even start the Midsummer Classic for the NL squad.
After notching 14 quality starts in his first 16 outings of the season, Stroman has just 1 over the last 7 starts.
“Stro’s been a big part of our success and why we’re in the position we’re in and being able to get guys that we just picked up at the deadline,” David Ross said. “He’s a big part of this group, big part of our success moving forward as well. He’s a hard worker. He’ll be back at the drawing board really soon.”
Stroman was not available to the media after the game but his catcher, Yan Gomes, is among those working to help get the veteran back on track.
“For me, it’s just to let him know that we still believe in him,” Gomes said. “It’s a tough situation to have a couple bad outings but we still believe in him. He’s still one of our leaders here. He’s had a phenomenal track record.
“Right now, instead of hitting the panic button and tinker and do all these things, I think it’s just a matter of taking a step back and let’s look in at what has worked and just clean things up.”
The Cubs lineup attempted to mount a comeback after the Reds jumped out to an early lead as Javier Assad (3.2 shutout innings) provided some strong relief.
“He’s got a lot of grit,” Gomes said of Assad. “He’s an extremely competitive guy and in situations like that, he can come in and throw strikes and give us a chance to stay in the ballgame and he’s been doing that consistently for us.”
Dansby Swanson homered in the 2nd and in the 3rd, Ian Happ and Seiya Suzuki each knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly and Gomes singled home another.
Christopher Morel drove home Gomes with an RBI double in the bottom of the 8th but that ended the scoring on the night for the Cubs.
The Reds are in town for the next three nights as part of a crucial series for the Cubs, who have climbed back into the race and are firmly in the “buyers” camp at this trade deadline.
If the Cubs are going to make a major playoff push over the final two months of the season, Stroman figures to be a huge part of it. So it is imperative for the Cubs to figure out how to get him on the right track once again.
“He has been one of the best pitchers in the game,” Happ said. “He’s done a great job. A little bit of a rough patch. He’s a professional. He works really hard in between starts. He’s gonna get it right. We trust him being the guy at the front of the rotation. He’s been fantastic and we know he’ll be back in form.”