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Marcus Stroman seeks to lead Cubs to another mile-high win

Sportsnaut
Apr 10, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (0) delivers the baseball in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Pitchers are told to be leery of Coors Field, that the altitude makes the ball travel farther and ERAs rise in one outing.

Marcus Stroman hasn’t experienced that when he has pitched in Denver. Although it is a small sample size, the Chicago Cubs right-hander is 2-1 with a 1.64 ERA in three career starts at Coors Field.

Stroman (0-0, 1.80 ERA) is slated to face the Rockies in Denver on Friday night, when he will be opposed by Colorado right-hander German Marquez (0-0, 1.29).

Chicago won the opener of the teams’ four-game series 5-2 on Thursday night.

Stroman is set to make his second start with the Cubs since joining the team in the offseason. He allowed a run in five innings against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday, a game Chicago eventually lost 5-4.

Stroman can be animated when he is on the mound, and he backs it up with good pitching, as the Rockies saw last year when he was with the New York Mets. Stroman allowed one run on three hits over eight innings in a sparkling Coors Field start on April 18, then beat Colorado again on May 27 in New York, where he fired six scoreless innings.

The 30-year-old veteran enjoys himself while pitching on the road or at home. The Denver crowd usually contains plenty of Chicago fans when the Cubs are in town, so Stroman might feel right at home.

“I appreciate the people, and I’m going to let them know that I appreciate them. I’ve always been like that,” Stroman said. “I love to feel that from the crowd. You can feel that buzz, that energy, the second you go out there. I’m someone who pitches off that, so I’m excited to be a Cub, and I can’t wait to have that each and every time out.”

Marquez is coming off a strong first start of the season against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He allowed one run on three hits and struck out five in seven innings during a no-decision on Saturday.

Marquez was the team’s lone All-Star in 2021 when Colorado hosted the event. Like Stroman, he isn’t bothered by the altitude in Denver, as he is 27-18 with a 4.67 ERA in 70 career appearances (69 starts) at Coors Field.

He has struggled against Chicago in his career, going 1-2 with a 7.53 ERA over six starts. He was roughed up by the Cubs at Wrigley Field last Aug. 25, allowing five runs on seven hits in just three innings.

The Rockies have plenty of young players with a mix of veterans, including Charlie Blackmon, the longest-tenured member of the team. Veterans such as C.J. Cron, who is hitting .320 with six RBIs in six games after collecting a single and a double on Thursday, also help guide the squad.

“He’s a steady veteran, for sure,” Colorado manager Bud Black said of Cron. “He has a nice way about him, where he’s intense and focused but loose at the same time. That’s good for our group. We have some lesser-service-time guys and C.J. is one of our more veteran players. In his own way, he’s been very impactful for this group.”

–Field Level Media