When Marcus Stroman walked to the Chicago Cubs’ bullpen 40 minutes before Sunday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers, he raised his hands above his head and urged fans to save early.
It was the perfect revelation for the expected debut of “Stro Show,” a nickname given to the veteran with whom the Cubs signed a three-year deal for $ 71 million on the eve of the lockout.
Ever since Dick Selma waved a towel in 1969, Pitcher Cubs has made no commitment to attract fans to the party atmosphere.
“I’ve been that way, my man, since time immemorial,” Stroman said. “I love energy. I’m not the typical baseball player who will be there robot. I value people and I’m going to let them know that I value them.
“I’ve always been that way. I love feeling it out of the crowd. You can feel this buzz, this energy as soon as you get out there, and I am the one who gives it away. I’m excited to be a Baby, and I can’t expect it to be every time. ”
Stroman did his job in his first walk on Wrigley Field, allowing one run for two strokes in five innings and leaving with an advantage of two. But the bullpen coughed it up in a 5-4 defeat by the Brewers, who avoided a sweep and finally showed why they are favorites in the Central National League.
The Brewers pitchers struck out 13 Cubs and conceded four shots, just one after the second half. All in all, the Cubs were to be pleased with the victory in the series and the great performance from their two key free agents, Stroman and Sei Suzuki, who on Sunday held their first home run in the major leagues and finished the series with a GPA of 0.375 and six IRBs.
The Cubs ’three starting teams – Kyle Hendrix, Justin Steele and Strawman – have combined a 1.19 ERA with 15 strikeouts and 11 hits allowed in 15⅓ innings, a good sign for a team that can’t score many runs this year.
But Sunday belonged to Stroman, who had to wait two games and rain to make his debut for the Cubs.
“I didn’t want to push him to the 3rd game,” manager David Ross said in advance. “There was talk that this guy may have become our startup from my point of view. … Hope the fans are excited. I am very happy to watch him fight and go about his business. I thought it was a good signing for us. ”
Suzuki’s first home run – a three-time, 412-foot blast to the left podium in the first – gave Stroman some time for early breathing. Japanese star and third base coach Willie Harris bowed to each other when Suzuki took third place, a gesture that Suzuki said was Harris ’idea.
“I’ve never done that in Japan,” he said. “But I talked to my third base coach, Willie Harris, and he said it was kind of boring to round up the third part without performance. It just felt like we wanted to do it. ”
Sammy Sosa was the last Cubs bounce on the bow after home runswhich he did during several Cactus League games in 1999, saying it was a tribute to Japan, which he toured in the off-season. But the Cubs asked Sosa to stop bowing after Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Todd Stottlemeyer complained that Sosa was speaking.
However, it was a different era, and fans of the Cubs liked the Suzuki bow. He said he was “still thinking” whether to make it a new tradition after home runs.
Stroman may also have started a new tradition by going out on the field with a white fool under a blue Cubs hat. He said he grows his dreadlocks and has other colored fools he can wear this year.
Stroman said that he had a “shiver” when he came out on the embankment, and that having a close relationship with the fans – this is what I wanted all my career. His only flaw came in Willie Adams ’third, solo home run on the sinker 3-2, and he said he feels strong enough to pass over five.
But Ross picked him up after 88 innings, as, like most coaches in April this year, he has a strict count of players due to shortened spring training sessions.
“I have a lot of respect for this man, so I will never challenge him,” Stroman said of Ross’ decision. “It’s a journey. This is a process. We want to be healthy and play baseball in the playoffs in August, September and until October, so Rossi has to be the one who tunes in to health and makes sure we don’t do too much. ”
Ross compared Stroman’s training and work ethic to the training of John Leicester, whose signing in 2015 turned into a moment of changing franchises for the Cubs.
“When you first visit John and see him, they come to work, and first it’s work, and then I’ll be like a teammate,” Ross said. “This guy comes, does his job and is careful about what he wants to do – to prepare. What stands out is his routine so far. ”
Relief Jesse Chavez made a home run twice to Rowdy Telles in the sixth move of three rounds, undermining the lead and depriving Stroman of a chance to win. The cubs received a gift at the bottom of the sixth when two gait exits, a bug and two wild pitches by Jake Cousins were brought home tying the run without hitting. But the Brewers regained the lead in the home run of Mike Broso, who killed Daniel Norris in seventh place.
For a second it looked as if the Cubs had tied him up again in the seventh when Jonathan Villar tried to beat the slow roller to short with two outs and a runner on the third. Adams made a good pickup and barely nailed Villar, who tried to throw his head off. After a long reconsideration the call was confirmed.
“One hundred percent I thought I was safe,” Villar said. “But it’s baseball.”
The Cubs had no chance against Devin Williams and closer to Josh Hayder. Suzuki was recalled for strikes without taking a bat off his shoulder against Williams in the eighth, and Hudder scored two in the perfect ninth.
After Monday’s weekend, the Cubs begin a trip to Pittsburgh and Colorado, where they will meet former Cubs star Chris Bryant. Stroman is already looking forward to his next start at Wrigley, a place he believes has an advantage on the home field like no other field.
“It’s very rare in baseball,” he said. “I don’t know if you know it or you guys are spoiled by this crowd. I’m happy with every game. “