Now that’s more like it!
Marcus Stroman turned 31 Sunday and turned in his best start as a Cub. He threw seven outstanding innings, allowing two hits and a walk and was helped out by two double plays. The Cubs didn’t put a lot on the board behind him, but it was enough for a 2-0 victory, salvaging the final game of the series and ending a three-game losing streak. The Cubs have now split six games with the Brewers this year, which is a perfectly reasonable result.
While Stroman was going along strong early, Corbin Burnes was even better early on. Burnes retired the first 13 Cubs, and then Patrick Wisdom hit a baseball a long, long way [VIDEO].
Look at the launch angle on that one:
In the sixth, the first two Cubs batters were routine outs. Then Alfonso Rivas singled and Seiya Suzuki doubled him in [VIDEO].
The Cubs have now scored five runs off Corbin Burnes in 12 innings this year after scoring just three off him in 20 innings last year.
Stroman finished seven innings in 90 pitches (59 strikes) and had his game going: Nine of his 21 outs recorded were on ground balls. He reduced his season ERA from 6.98 to a still-high, but more reasonable 5.13. This is the guy the Cubs thought they were getting. Fun fact:
Marcus Stroman is done after 90 pitches over seven shutout innings. He now has a 2.45 ERA in three career starts on his b-day. #Analysis— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) May 1, 2022
One more fun fact: Stroman becomes the first Cubs starter to record a win on his birthday since Randy Wells did it against the Reds August 28, 2010.
Rowan Wick entered to throw the eighth and allowed a hit and a walk, but retired two hitters and then left the situation to David Robertson, who ended the inning by striking out Jace Peterson [VIDEO].
This is the second time David Ross has used Robertson for a save of more than three outs, and it seems to be working. That’s a nice availability to have. Here’s the final out [VIDEO].
Factoids: It’s the third shutout by the Cubs this year. They had eight all of last year. The Cubs also evened up their run differential for the season, 96 runs scored, 96 allowed. And, at 2:43 this game tied for the second-fastest Cubs game of the 2022 season so far.
That was a satisfying win after the two horrific losses on the previous two evenings. I’m going to leave three team splits here to see what you might make of them. Two might mean something, the other almost certainly doesn’t, but is still interesting.
Cubs, day games, 2022: 6-3
Cubs, night games, 2022: 3-10
Something about playing at night? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Cubs vs. RH starters, 2022: 5-10
Cubs vs. LH starters, 2022: 4-3
Overall the Cubs are actually hitting slightly worse vs. LHP, so I don’t get this one.
Cubs on road wearing gray jerseys, 2022: 5-3
Cubs on road wearing blue jerseys, 2022: 0-4
Yes, I know it doesn’t matter. I also know baseball players are superstitious — or, as Joe Maddon used to say, at least a “little stitious,” so why not change things up on the next road trip and not wear the blue?
Lastly, what’s up with Willson Contreras? He DH’d Saturday — and was removed for a pinch hitter in the eighth inning. Then he didn’t start at all Sunday, with an off day Monday. Just asking.
The Cubs will have Monday off and then the White Sox come to Wrigley Field for a two-game set Tuesday and Wednesday evening. Tuesday, Drew Smyly will start for the Cubs and Michael Kopech will go for the Sox. Game time is 6:40 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network (and also on NBC Sports Chicago with the Sox announcers).