Column: Chicago Cubs can survive even when Marcus Stroman doesn’t return from his mysterious rib damage

In one other 12 months, Marcus Stroman’s potential season-ending rib cartilage fracture would’ve had Chicago Cubs followers crying, “Why us?”

However this has been a season in distinction to a different in newest Cubs historic previous, a roller-coaster journey that no one would possibly’ve seen coming once more in spring teaching. They buried themselves on June 8 in Anaheim, Calif., falling 10 video video games beneath .500, solely to bounce once more into competitors throughout the Nationwide League Central and wild-card race.

Although the Cubs have been solely three video video games over .500 moving into Wednesday’s Metropolis Sequence finale in opposition to the White Sox, which the Cubs acquired 4-3 on a three-run, walk-off residence run by Christopher Morel, the surroundings in Wrigleyville matched the giddiness of the summer season of 2015, the turning stage of Theo Epstein’s vaunted rebuild.

So if anyone is fearful the doable absence of Stroman for the final word seven weeks of the season has spoiled the Cubs’ prospects of constructing a postseason run, they principally have saved their concepts to themselves.

Humorous how that works.

Two months up to now Stroman was important the league in earned-run frequent and on his approach to an All-Star look and one different large free-agent payday as quickly as he opted out of the final word 12 months of his three-year, $71 million contract. When he started a dialog on Twitter in early June in regards to the Cubs’ refusal to discuss an extension in the middle of the season, followers rushed to his safety and demanded administration give the ace irrespective of he wished.

However a poor start in London in opposition to the St. Louis Cardinals on June 25 was solely the start of Stroman’s struggles, and by the purpose he went on the 15-day hurt document with a hip hurt Aug. 1 he had develop into the weak hyperlink of the rotation.

A psychological reset was imagined to therapy all his ills, nonetheless then obtained right here the mysterious hurt that had all people confused, from docs to the supervisor to the doorway office.

“We had no thought what it was,” President Jed Hoyer talked about Wednesday. “It’s not your common pitching damage. It’s not an arm. It’s not a shoulder. It’s not an elbow.”

We don’t know how the rib hurt occurred or when he presumably can return or what’s taking place in Stroman’s head. It’s primarily what Lou Piniella would possibly want known as a “Cubbie Incidence,” the kind of baseball oddity that the Cubs seem to have a patent on.

Hoyer talked about the Cubs had no time to “wallow” throughout the info and that they’d the pitching depth to get by the use of it. Supervisor David Ross talked about Drew Smyly likely would return to the rotation after his newest demotion to the bullpen. Javier Assad, who on Wednesday made his third start since Aug. 5, already had proved he deserved a spot.

Hoyer talked about he felt “comfy in home,” which suggests he didn’t plan to convey anyone as a lot as audition in a pennant race.

“He hasn’t been pitching for us,” he talked about of Stroman. “We didn’t lose a pitcher that was energetic. We misplaced a man we thought was pitching at present who was on the IL. We’ll transfer ahead with the blokes we’ve got proper now. Clearly while you’re in a pennant race, you react in another way than you’ll if you weren’t. So if that involves it, we’ll make these choices. However proper now we don’t must make these choices.”

The Cubs can survive with out Stroman. In actuality they already have.

His struggles began in late June, which coincided with the workforce’s return from the lifeless. The “Stro Present” didn’t really subject into the resurgence. The hope was {{that a}} healthful and rejuvenated Stroman would make the Cubs even larger, however when he obtained right here once more and continued to wrestle, it is going to’ve been highly effective for Ross to tug him from the rotation down the stretch, as he did with Smyly.

Nonetheless, counting on Smyly to indicate points spherical is an exceedingly optimistic outlook. And almost pretty much as good as Assad has been, he’s nonetheless youthful and untested. Veterans Kyle Hendricks and Jameson Taillon have experience on playoff teams, and Ross will need every to decide on it up a notch down the stretch to once more up the uber-consistent Justin Steele, a Cy Younger Award candidate.

This won’t be exactly a do-or-die season for the Cubs, nonetheless in any case this workforce has gone by the use of will probably be deflating to complete the season with no journey to October. Hoyer rolled the dice on the commerce deadline by conserving Stroman and Cody Bellinger, understanding every would possibly depart as free brokers after the season.

Bellinger was the bigger hazard on account of he would’ve netted a nicer return in prospects. If the Cubs don’t make the playoffs and Bellinger will get away, will probably be lose-lose for Hoyer, who known as him the “centerpiece” of the workforce’s playoff push.

Did he take a look at it as an infinite gamble?

“Successful is best than not successful,” Hoyer talked about, sounding as if he have been auditioning for a job with Apparent Shirts. “I actually really feel like that’s the aim. In case you talked about at first of the 12 months he was going to play good … and do you have to take away the actual fact he missed a month he’s throughout the MVP race and someplace throughout the prime 4 or 5 guys. In case you talked about we’d achieve success and he’d do that, I’d be a part of that each sooner or later.

“Actually there’s a value related to not having the ability to commerce him, however the purpose we do that is to win. The explanation we signed him is to come back in and play like this. Whenever you have a look at it that means, it’s fairly straightforward and it was a reasonably easy determination. And I’m glad he’s nonetheless right here.”

If Stroman can come once more and contribute this season, it could be thought-about a bonus. However the Cubs can’t depend on that, so Hoyer ought to be capable to audible with the rotation if points go south.

In essence, a weird season merely purchased a bit bit weirder, which was as soon as the norm on the North Aspect. This was the Cubs Method a number of of us grew up with and realized to love.

Welcome once more, earlier buddy.