Why Cubs’ ace Marcus Stroman is not playing in All-Star Game
MILWAUKEE — It’s already been a long year for Cubs’ ace Marcus Stroman.
Stroman participated in high-intensity games with Team Puerto Rico at the World Baseball Classic in March, finished Spring Training and was the Cubs’ Opening Day starter. Since March, Stroman has pitched in 121.2 innings across 21 starts (including the WBC). With the Cubs, he’s pitched to a stellar 2.96 ERA and 1.11 WHIP, earning him an All-Star Game nomination.
But Stroman knows his body. And his body is telling him to slow it down for a bit, so Stroman has decided he won’t pitch in next week’s All-Star Game in Seattle.
“It’s been a huge process, so very thankful for everybody who’s helped me get to this point,” the righty said. “But definitely looking forward to having a little bit of a break kind of just restore my energy, clear my mind and have a good second half.”
If the Cubs hope to climb back in the NL Central race, they’ll need Stroman to be in tip-top shape, so they’re not too upset with him not pitching in the festivities.
“I want my players healthy when they get back,” manager David Ross said. “But like, listen, I don’t ever think it’s healthy for our sport or anybody to think the All-Star Game is something we should not participate in and, and looked down upon.
“This is a special honor those guys get. And it’s a great, great opportunity to be around other great players and get experiences and see how other guys do things.”
That’s partially why Stroman is undecided if he’ll attend the festivities in Seattle. It’s a unique experience and a privilege. But traveling from New York to Seattle and then back to Chicago to start the second half against the Red Sox at Wrigley Field can also take a toll on his body.
“It’s been a lot, as far as travel from London back to here,” Stroman said of the recent schedule. “I’m really good with my body, so I’m not sure. I’m going to put a priority on my body, my mind and doing everything I can to make sure I go into the second half feeling all right.”
Stroman was a prime candidate to start the game for the National League. There still might be a Cub, though, who starts the game. Justin Steele is third in the National League in ERA, second in WHIP and 10th in batting average against. The 27-year-old was named to the All-Star Game for the first time in his career.
“I mean, I don’t think it should be a debate if we’re being honest,” Stroman said. “I think he’s the clear-cut starter for the NL. I mean, if you watch the game, if you see everything involved, I think everybody should pick him.
“So yeah, I’m very, very hopeful that he’ll be the starter in the game. I think he deserves it.”