Cubs starting pitcher Marcus Stroman was already itching to get in front of a mirror as he addressed the media after the Cubs’ 8-2 loss to the Rays in 5½ innings on Wednesday.
That’s where he gets a lot of his repetition work done when he’s not on the mound, trying to replicate his motion, find a rhythm.
“The second I leave here I’ll be doing some dry work and anything I can to put myself in a better position before [the] next start,” Stroman said.
The rain, which had already begun to drive fans to the concourse by the time the Wrigley Field grounds crew pulled the tarp in the middle of the sixth inning, cut short the series finale between the two teams.
But even under different circumstances making up the deficit would have been a tall order for the Cubs.
“I’ve got to be better,” Stroman said after the game. “I can’t spot my team five runs down in the first [and second innings] and expect to get a win. That’s not even realistic.”
Stroman had rhythm issues in the final inning of his last start. And those reemerged on Wednesday, as he tied a career high with eight runs allowed — seven of which were earned. In 4⅓ innings, Stroman issued two walks and struck out seven.
“I’m just off right now,” Stroman said. “Just a mess a bit mechanically. Can’t find any rhythm. Nothing seemed synonymous, every pitch essentially feels like I’m doing something different mechanically. So it just kind of comes and goes in stretches. I feel great for an inning or a few batters and then kind of just lose it. So it’s frustrating.”
After allowing four runs in the first inning, he battled back to hold the Rays scoreless in the third and fourth. But an infield error and a pair of extra-base hits paved the way for another Rays rally in the fifth inning.
“The consistent misses are probably arm side to lefties is what I’m seeing,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “That seems to be the overarching theme, is just not been able to get ahead down and away to lefties. That ball’s just running off a little bit.”
The Rays also have a lot of left-handed hitters. Their starting lineup Wednesday included just one right-handed batter, Randy Arozarena.
After Stroman ran into similar mechanical issues in his last start in Colorado, both he and Ross said they felt good about his bullpen in-between starts.
“I feel great in the mid-week,” Stroman said. “I feel like everything’s moving in the right direction, and then I feel like I take a couple steps backward when I get out there on the mound on my fifth day.
“I’m not someone to dwell.”
That’s why he wants to get in front of a mirror and look ahead to the next start.
Cubs swap pitchers with Braves
The Cubs announced after the game that they traded right-handed reliever Jesse Chavez and cash to Atlanta for left-hander Sean Newcomb.
“You hate to lose somebody that you’ve been with, created a rapport, former teammate of mine, somebody you care deeply about,” Ross said, “but those things aren’t my call.”
Ross said Brian McCann, a mutual former teammate of Ross and Newcomb, raves about the left-hander’s stuff.
“I look forward to meeting him and seeing if we get the most out of him,” Ross said.