Stroman dominates on windy night, Cubs beat Mets again

Kyle Hendricks isn't likely to wave his arms and rile up the crowd on his way off the mound, but this was Marcus Stroman's night.

The Cubs announced Hendricks will make his season debut on Thursday, following up a very solid performance by Stroman in Wednesday's 4-2 victory over the New York Mets at Wrigley Field.

Stroman nearly went the distance. He completed eight innings on just 88 pitches, but Mark Leiter Jr. came on to finish in the ninth. When Stroman walked off the mound he got the fans fired up on his walk between the umpire inspection and dugout.

"I would say he's as calm and collected as anybody in a lot of ways, but not afraid to express himself too, which I think is an awesome combination," teammate Nico Hoerner said. "We feed off his energy. You only get the ball so many times and he takes advantage of each time."

Stroman had three complete games in his career, all with Toronto and most recently in 2017.

"I want a CG more than anything," Stroman said. "That's kind of why I put as much work as I do in is to go out there and go seven, eight, nine innings. I definitely think I could have gone out there for the ninth, but Mark was great. Mark has been throwing the ball incredible and I think Rossy made a great decision there."

Stroman got out of trouble in the eighth. With runners on first and third, he coaxed an inning-ending double play from Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez. After the game, manager David Ross said Alvarez would have been Stroman's last batter regardless.

"Couple walks in that inning before, just some little indicators he might be getting a little fatigued," Ross said. "When he's on, that's what you can get, a lot of early count soft contact."

Stroman spent two years with the Mets before signing with the Cubs in 2022, but said that wasn't a factor in his mind.

"Younger me may have seen it as a revenge game, but now I know how to pitch, I'm really good at what I do and it's just a matter of getting to the point mechanically and just rolling start after start and staying there," he said.

Stroman used his sinker 60% of the time and coaxed 15 ground ball outs.

This was an uncomfortable night at the ballpark. The temperature dropped nearly 20 degrees from the previous night and a strong wind blew in from left field.

It seemed to be a night when fly balls would get knocked down by the wind, but Alvarez managed to send a line drive into the left-field bleachers for a 2-run homer in the third, then Nico Hoerner added a solo homer to left in the sixth.

"Pretty much they know I'm throwing my sinker and they're swinging at my sinker," Stroman said. "So it's just like, 'Here it is.' And when I get it to the spot I can get it to, when I'm dialed in mechanically, I feel like I'm going to win those battles a majority of the time. But when I'm off and that pitch starts to leak up, those can become very hittable pitches if my mechanics are off."

Stroman helped his own cause with a couple nice defensive plays, which included starting a double play.

"I'm a shortstop at heart, I still am," he said. "I played shortstop and second base in college."

Just like in Game 1 of this series, the Cubs made progress in clutch hitting. After falling behind 2-0 in the top of the third, they got a pair of two-out RBI to take the lead in the bottom of the inning.

Dansby Swanson was on second after sending Hoerner home with an RBI double. After a strikeout, Seiya Suzuki greeted fellow Japan native Kodai Senga with a double off the left-field wall to tie the score. Mike Tauchman followed with an RBI single to left to put the Cubs ahead.

In the first two games of his career at Wrigley Field, Palatine native Tauchman has gone 3-for-7 with 2 RBI.

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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Marcus Stroman completed 8 innings with just 88 pitches on Wednesday, but did not get the opportunity to land his first complete game since 2017. Mark Leiter Jr. finished off a win over the New York Mets at Wrigley Field. Associated Press
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