Note: This article was written before the Cubs-Diamondbacks game on September 16, 2023
Before the game last night the Cubs brought Marcus Stroman off the Injured List, saying they did not know how he would be used down the stretch. To me, that sounded like they were going to use him in relief, either because he is still injured or there was never an injury in the first place and they just wanted to give the young guys like Drew Smyly and Hayden Wesneski a longer look. Also, let’s not forget the fact that they called up Jordan Wicks a couple of weeks ago and he’s been stellar in the rotation.
Stroman relieved Justin Steele last night after he had a bad night where he gave up six runs. Stroman did manage to surprise me by going two innings and completely stopping the bleeding giving the late inning 2023 Cubs a chance to come back. However, it might have been better having Wesneski or Assad stop the bleeding because they have pitched in high leverage situations over the last few weeks.
Especially when considering back when Stroman was shelved with the injury Jed Hoyer said he had never heard of this injury occurring to a pitcher in 30 years of being around baseball. They are paying Stroman to be a starter and they still have six very important games left to determine if they make the playoffs; including four games to be played during the last weekend of the season.
Back in May Hoyer publically took blame in many interviews for the pitching woes. As a result, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever they should be using Stroman as a reliever when they have had many games since he went on the Injured list with the rib injury where they used all long relievers because they did not have a starter. They should have been starting Stroman today or tomorrow and pushed Jordan Wicks’ start back to Tuesday against the Pirates.
Here’s the thing, folks: should the Cubs make the playoffs even with Stroman off the Injured lust I do not see them going too far. At best I think they will make it to the Division Series after winning the Wild Card series. Sadly, what the Cubs are doing by using him in relief is simply saying to him, “Get out we don’t want you.” The fact is they need a fifth starter after Wicks has been showing his ability to adjust fast and Wicks could be that fifth starter next season behind Steele, Hendricks, Stroman, and Wesneski or Javier Assad.
With that… let hope the snake bite from last night doesn’t kill the Cubs playoff run.
If you cannot play with them, root for them!