Cubs David Ross calls error on himself for Marcus Stroman hook

·3 min read

Ross-E: Cubs manager takes blame for Marcus Stroman hook originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Nobody knows what would have happened if Cubs manager David Ross had left Marcus Stroman in Monday night’s game with two out in the fifth and the Cubs leading the Nationals.

But Ross knew enough about what he thought of the decision afterward that he called himself out publicly for it — after he pulled Stroman aside following the 5-4 loss to the Nationals to tell his veteran starter as much.

“I probably took him out, honestly, one batter too soon,” Ross said.

If not for a throwing error by third baseman Zach McKinstry, Stroman might have been out of the fifth inning with a 3-0 lead instead of facing a two-on, two-out situation — with two runs already in — with seven-time All-Star hitter Nelson Cruz due up.

Ross went to Mark Leiter Jr., who needed just two pitches to give up the go-ahead, two-run double to Cruz — a strikeout victim of Stroman in the fourth.

Ross’ admission to reporters after the series opener in Washington did little to ease the sting of losing again after blowing a second fifth-inning lead on the road in as many days.

But it seemed to go a long way in his budding relationship with one of his more important, veteran pitchers.

“That’s huge,” said Stroman, the Cubs’ $71 million free agent addition, who acknowledged he’d been “blasted” in the past for publicly showing displeasure at being pulled from games when he felt he should have stayed in.

“So I just try to keep my mouth shut and do everything I can while I’m out there,” said Stroman, who threw 94 pitches in the start, including 21 to six batters in the fifth. “And then when he comes to get me, my job is done.”

Stroman, whose start also was interrupted in the fourth because of a PitchCom malfunction, said Ross went to him after the game to say he wished he’d have left Stroman in to face Cruz.

“It just shows who Rossy is,” Stroman said. “I love Rossy. Rossy’s the man.

“I have a lot of respect for that man.”

The fifth inning wasn’t the last the Cubs heard from Cruz on this night.

After the Nats took the lead in the fifth, the Cubs tied it on Seiya Suzuki’s two-out single in the seventh.

Cruz homered off rookie left-hander Brandon Hughes with one out in the eighth for the game-winner.

Ian Happ hit his 11th and 12th home runs in the first and fifth for the Cubs — making him one of just six switch-hitters in history with at least 11 homers in each of his first six seasons (also Mickey Mantle, Eddie Murray, Ruben Sierra, Jose Cruz Jr. and Mark Teixeira).

“It’s a pretty cool list. I take a lot of pride in that,” said Happ, who’s 5-for-12 with three homers, two walks and six RBIs in his last three games.

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