ST. LOUIS — Major League Baseball announced Thursday that the Cubs and Cardinals will face off in the London Series next summer. The two-game set is scheduled for June 24-25.
“I’m excited, really excited to be able to go over there,” manager David Ross said. “I think it’s a lot like the Field of Dreams game, to go somewhere, play somewhere different, play a big rivalry game over there like we saw a few years ago with the Yankees and Red Sox, that’s exciting from a ballplayer’s standpoint.
“Whenever you get to go to new places and perform, and put on this product we have, and put on a good show, it’s really nice.”
The Yankees and Red Sox played in the 2019 London Series, and the Cubs and Cardinals were originally pegged to carry on the tradition the next year. But MLB canceled the trip across the pond because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“London is on my bucket list,” said Marcus Stroman, who held the Cardinals to three runs through 6‰ innings in the first game of the doubleheader Thursday.
“It’s one of those cities that I’m going to hit when I’m done playing the game, obviously I want to travel a ton. But I feel like, playing baseball, it’s not a city that you necessarily want to go to in the wintertime. So, I’m glad we get to get there in the summer. I’ve had a lot of friends who go to London all the time, and they have nothing but great things to say.
“So, expanding the game to greater regions, that’s great for MLB.”
MLB and the players’ association plan to schedule up to 24 regular-season games and 16 exhibition games in Asia, Latin America and Europe through 2026 as part of their World Tour.
“I think it’s awesome,” Stroman said of MLB’s efforts to grow its reach with big-ticket events outside of the continental United States. “I think they need to do much more, but I think it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”
After the Cubs’ 4-3 loss to the Cardinals in Game 1 of the doubleheader, they optioned infielder David Bote to Triple-A to make room on the active roster for lefty Sean Newcomb, who opened Game 2. He allowed two runs in three innings, as the Cubs suffered a 7-2 loss.
Bote, who began the season on the 60-day injured list after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, was hitting .259 in 54 at-bats.
Left-hander Matt Dermody was added as the 27th man for the doubleheader. Dermody appeared in one game for the Cubs in 2020. Then, after playing in Japan last season, he returned to the team in the winter on a minor-league deal.
Dermody (3.74 ERA) has been on a roll in Triple-A, posting a 1.21 ERA in his last eight outings.
He appeared in his first major-league game of the season in the second game. He allowed two runs, and Kervin Castro — making his Cubs debut — gave up three runs, as the Cardinals pulled ahead in late innings.