Marcus Stroman will make his debut for the Cubs when one of the team’s biggest free-agent signings looks to lead Chicago to a third straight win over the visiting Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.
Stroman signed a three-year, $71 million contract, which includes an opt-out after the second season, this past December. The right-hander went 10-13 with a 3.02 ERA and 158 strikeouts against 44 walks in 179 innings with the New York Mets last season.
Stroman will face Milwaukee for the first time since May 2017, when he played for the Toronto Blue Jays. He picked up the victory by allowing four earned runs on four hits with five strikeouts and four walks in 5 2/3 innings during an 8-4 win.
Less than a month earlier, he was even better, allowing two earned runs on seven hits to go along with four strikeouts and a walk over nine innings of a 2-0 loss.
Stroman will be opposed by Milwaukee right-hander Freddy Peralta (10-5, 2.81 ERA in 2021), who is quite familiar with the Cubs.
He’s faced them 11 times since the start of the 2019 season, with the last five of his outings as the starting pitcher. He’s 5-1 with a 3.32 ERA against the Cubs, who have mustered two earned runs or less against him in 10 of the 11 times they’ve faced him.
After the Cubs held on for a 5-4 win in the season opener, Chicago scored early and often on Saturday and cruised to a 9-0 victory.
The Cubs, who are 2-0 for the first time since 2016, got a big game from right fielder Seiya Suzuki, who signed a five-year, $85 million contract last month, making him the team’s biggest offseason acquisition. The outfielder went 1-for-3 and drove in three runs on Saturday.
Ian Happ went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored, while Rafael Ortega and Willson Contreras scored two runs apiece. The output was more than enough for right-hander Justin Steele (1-0), who allowed just four hits to go along with five strikeouts and a walk in five innings.
“Everybody is hungry. Everybody had a good spring,” said Cubs first baseman Frank Schwindel, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a walk on Saturday. “We’ve got a couple of big acquisitions with Suzuki, Stroman and some of the relievers. I think everybody is feeling pretty good and excited about this season, especially with a couple of more playoff spots thrown in there. That’s the goal.”
The Brewers, who mustered just four hits and struck out 10 times on Saturday, got frustrated when Cubs reliever Keegan Thompson hit designated hitter Andrew McCutchen in the eighth inning — the frame after the Cubs’ Ian Happ was hit by reliever Trevor Gott.
The benches cleared after McCutchen got hit, but no punches were thrown. Thompson was ejected.
Everyone and their mom knew when I came up to bat, I was going to get hit,” McCutchen said. “Contreras didn’t even move his glove behind the plate when I got hit.”
Still, there were five players — three Cubs, two Brewers — who were hit by a pitch on Saturday.
Happ started the series 5-for-7 with four RBIs before being hit by a pitch on his left knee. He exited the game and told reporters in the locker room that X-rays were negative.
–Field Level Media