Cubs News

The unconventional spark that has helped Marcus Stroman get out to a red-hot start with Cubs

1 year agoTony Andracki

Marcus Stroman has been a man on a mission early this season for the Cubs.

The team’s Opening Day starter, Stroman has yet to allow a run through his first 2 starts, lasting 6 innings in each outing.

Friday marked Stroman’s 200th career MLB start and he celebrated in style at Wrigley Field, shutting down the Rangers.

In 12 innings so far this season, Stroman has permitted just 5 hits while racking up 14 strikeouts (against 6 walks).

Cubs fans can thank the World Baseball Classic (at least in part) for Stroman’s hot start.

“For sure. My year in 2017 when I played in the WBC, I feel like I had one of the best starts to my season,” Stroman said. “I came out and threw 200 innings after that year. I just feel it puts you in that competitive mind frame and gets you going much earlier in Spring Training.

“In Spring Training, you can kinda go through the motions at times so playing super competitive, playoff-level atmosphere baseball in March, it’s extremely fun. But not only fun, it makes you get ready for the start of the season. I feel like I’m definitely more prepared because I feel like I was able to experience those games.”

Last season, Stroman got off to a tough start as he hit the shelf with COVID in early May and then dealt with a shoulder injury as he tried to work his way back.

But over his final 16 starts of the year, Stroman was 4-2 with a 2.56 ERA and 9 quality starts.

He has carried that over into this season and been the type of anchor the Cubs were hoping for atop their rotation.

“Been great for us,” David Ross said. “Every time he steps on the bump, you feel that you got a chance to win. … That’s why you get those type of guys. You give them the Opening Day start and get them back around as much as possible. The sinker’s looks like it’s moving as much as I’ve seen it since he’s been here. Just the way he competes and loves the spotlight. Has done a really nice job so far.”

Over his last 6 starts (dating back to last season), Stroman is 5-0 with a 1.18 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 39 strikeouts in 38 innings. All 6 of those starts have been of the “quality” variety.

Marcus Stroman Last 6 Starts Graphic

With the rainout on Wednesday in Cincinnati, that pushed Stroman’s start back to Friday. It gave him more than a week off in between outings but it also allowed him to pitch in front of the Wrigley faithful again.

For the second straight start, Stroman gave the hometown crowd plenty to cheer about.

“He’s a lot of fun to play behind,” Ian Happ said. “You see the energy that he brings, you can see how excited he gets the crowd into it coming off the mound. Love playing behind him.”

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