Marcus Stroman was dominant against the Mets on Wednesday night and he made sure to let them know.
The 32-year-old pitched eight innings of two-run ball against his former team, to pick up a win for the Cubs (22-26). And aside from a two-run shot given up to Francisco Alvarezthe Mets (25-25) had no answers for his sinker, causing New York to ground out 15 times in the loss.
He made some nifty athletic plays on the mound to help his cause, and simply kept the Mets off balance all game.
“Sinking the ball to the bottom of the zone, a lot of ground balls, ahead in some counts,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said of why Stroman was effective after the game. “Real athletic guy. He has a good hand, he can do a lot of things with the baseball.”
Wednesday was arguably Stroman’s best start this season. It was the first time he went more than 6.1 innings and tied his season-low in pitches (88) despite being his longest outing of the year. When Stroman was asked postgame how he felt having that kind of start against a former team, the veteran downplayed it.
“I really don’t play into it too much, to be honest with you,” Stroman said. “Younger me may have seen it as a revenge game but now I know how to pitch, I’m very good at what I do , it’s just a matter of getting to a point mechanically and rolling start after start and staying there.”
While Stroman says he didn’t see Wednesday’s matchup with the Mets as a “revenge game” he was very passionate on the field especially in the eighth inning. With the Mets threatening to tie or take the lead, Stroman got Alvarez to ground out into an inning-ending double play.
Stroman pounded his chest while yelling towards the Mets dugout before hyping up the Wrigley Field crowd on the way to his own dugout.
“What did we do to him?” one Met asked rhetorically to The New York Post after the game.
Another Met who witnessed Stroman’s actions said, “Show some respect. Be a professional. It isn’t all about you.”
Stroman’s displeasure with the Mets’ decision not to re-sign him following the 2021 season is well-documented, but Wednesday night was not the first time he’s faced his former team.
On July 16 of last year, Stroman went just 4.1 innings while giving up one run on one hit and two walks, and striking out six Mets. Wednesday’s performance was much better from Stroman, which may have spurred on his actions.
The Mets finish their three-game series with the Cubs on Thursday night. Chicago does go to Citi Field in August for a three-game set where Stroman could see himself pitching against his former team once again.