It was announced today that Marcus Stroman will officially be the Cubs Opening Day starter, and rightfully so. Stroman was undoubtedly the Cubs’ best pitcher going into the season, which clearly puts him first in line to start the season on the mound.
After playing for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic this March, there has not been much of a 2023 sample size of the nine-year veteran. Combining the WBC and his two Spring Training starts, there are only 13.1 innings pitched with four earned runs.
Last year, Kyle Hendricks took the mound on Opening Day versus the Brewers, but Stroman’s Wrigley Field debut was far more anticipated and electric. For those who may not remember, Stroman took time pregame to walk along the ivy-covered outfield walls to take in Wrigley Field and all the fans in the bleachers welcomed him with applause and cheers.
The odds are that Stroman will go up against Brewers’ former Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes on Opening Day. Unlike other teams, the Cubs are notorious for not letting Burnes dominate the lineup, where he has a career record of 2-2. On the other hand, Stroman dominated the Brewers on his Cubs debut, pitching six innings and allowing only one run. Stats aside, if it’s any indication of Stroman’s lucky presence in the Friendly Confines, this game also marked Seiya Suzuki’s first career home run, which was a no-doubt 412-foot bomb over the left-field wall. Unfortunately, to none of Stroman’s fault, the Cubs did end up losing the game 5-4. Regardless, Stroman will be looking for a repeat performance for his season debut on Opening Day.
The Cubs Opening Day lineup is still up in the air in quite a few positions, but announcing the starting pitcher is the beginning of the lineup assurances for the year. The rotation will most likely be Marcus Stroman, Jameson Taillon, Kyle Hendricks, Justin Steele, and Drew Smyly, in that order. There is heavy speculation on who will grab the fifth spot in the rotation, but signs are pointing to Smyly taking the job with Keegan Thompson’s recent struggles.