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Giants 5, Cubs 2: What is it with Marcus Stroman and Wrigley Field?

The Cubs righthander had another bad game at the Friendly Confines.

Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Sorry, folks, it’s not a small sample size anymore.

Marcus Stroman just doesn’t pitch well at Wrigley Field. Here are his splits:

Home games: nine starts, 7.11 ERA, 1.534 WHIP, nine home runs in 44⅓ innings
Road games: 12 starts, 1.84 ERA, 0.980 WHIP, four home runs in 68⅓ innings

Of Stroman’s nine Wrigley starts, just three can be called “good to excellent.” Of his 12 starts on the road, at least eight can be called “good to excellent.”

Honestly? I wouldn’t have Stroman start another game at Wrigley this year until he and the coaching staff can figure out what’s going on here. (Note: Stroman had never pitched at Wrigley Field before this year.)

This game, on yet another pleasant late summer afternoon at the ballpark, wound up as a 5-2 Cubs loss to the Giants, and Stroman had one bad inning and struggled thereafter. He was removed after four innings, having allowed seven hits, the key a two-run homer by Joey Bart, and throwing only 49 strikes out of 80 pitches.

In that ugly four-run Giants second, Stroman balked in a run. That gave the Cubs the MLB lead in balks, with eight.

The Cubs did have an early lead in this game. In the bottom of the first, Nico Hoerner doubled with one out and one out later Ian Happ doubled him in [VIDEO].

That lead was short-lived, as the Giants’ four-run inning happened in the top of the second. The Cubs did cut the lead to two in the bottom of the second. Alfonso Rivas tripled down the right-field line and scored on a throwing error [VIDEO].

David Bote, the next hitter after Rivas, singled, but was stranded. The Cubs had only four more baserunners the rest of the game, and none until the sixth, when Happ doubled again with two out. Happ now has 38 doubles, just two short of the Cubs’ first 40-double season since Javier Báez had 40 in 2018. The 38 doubles for Happ puts him, at this writing, third in the National League behind Matt Olson (41) and Freddie Freeman (44).

Beyond not being able to figure out Marcus Stroman, would someone please explain Sean Newcomb to me? In this game, Newcomb was nearly lights-out, throwing three shutout innings with three strikeouts and just one hit allowed. He’s had other outings like this, but then he’s had two others recently when he couldn’t get guys out and allowed at least five runs in both. So — what’s going on here? If he could pitch like he did today all the time, he’s a candidate for next year’s team. If he pitches like he has in those other outings, he’s a DFA candidate.

My current reaction is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Perhaps yours is too.

The other event of the day at the ballpark was inductions into the Cubs Hall of Fame for Buck O’Neil, Pat Hughes and Jose Cardenal. Here’s a video the team released today after the induction ceremony:

And here are the plaques for the three new inductees:

Congratulations to these three worthy people from Cubs history.

This loss clinched a losing season at home for the Cubs, who are 30-41 at Wrigley Field with 10 home games remaining. Even so, their record at home since July 17 has been better, at 13-8. Also, if the Cardinals win tonight the Cubs will be mathematically eliminated from the NL Central race. Obviously they were essentially eliminated months ago, but that would clinch it.

There were tons of Giants fans at Wrigley both Friday and Saturday; you likely heard lots of “Let’s go Giants!” chants on the Marquee broadcast. I ran into a couple of San Francisco fans who said they had gone to the doubleheader the Giants played in Milwaukee Thursday, then Friday and Saturday at Wrigley, then planned to attend the Bears/49ers NFL opener at Soldier Field Sunday. That’s a lot of sports!

The Cubs, meanwhile, will wrap the series and homestand Sunday night at Wrigley, weather permitting. Wade Miley will start for the Cubs and just after Saturday’s game, the Giants made this announcement:

John Brebbia threw the eighth inning Saturday, so clearly he’s being used as an opener. What the Giants will do beyond that is still not known.

Game time Sunday, if they can play, is 7:08 p.m. CT and the game is ESPN’s national Sunday Night Baseball game.