The Chicago Cubs finally got their ace Marcus Stroman back in the middle of September after he missed more than a month with a rib injury. To err on the side of caution, David Ross eased the righty into action as both of his appearances since returning have come out of the bullpen.
However, with the NL Wild Card race heating up, the Cubs are now slotting Stroman into the rotation again as of Saturday, and as a result, Javier Assad is heading back to the pen.
Via Meghan Montemurro:
“With Marcus Stroman starting today and back in the rotation, Javier Assad will be in Cubs bullpen going forward, Ross says.”
Stroman pitched on August 16th and 17th against the Arizona Diamondbacks, giving up just one unearned run in three relief innings while surrendering just two hits. On the year, the veteran owns a 10-8 record and a 3.76 ERA in 131.2 innings, striking out 115 and issuing 51 walks in the process.
Some Cubs fans actually seem a tad irritated that Assad isn't staying in the rotation considering how well he did in the role. He has a 3.02 ERA in 10 starts in 2023, holding oppositions to a mere .239 average.
But, you also can't blame Ross for going back to what worked all year. Stro was consistent for the most part except for a brief spell of struggles and has played a key part in Chicago having a chance at making the postseason.
At the moment, the Cubs hold the third Wild Card spot at 80-74 and sit one game ahead of the Miami Marlins and 1.5 above the Cincinnati Reds.