Help is on the way.
With the playoffs on the forefront, the Cubs need all the help they can get to secure a spot in the postseason. And it sounds like they might be getting some support soon.
"Our best team is one with Marcus Stroman on it, for sure," Cubs general manager Carter Hawkins told Berstein & Holmes Thursday on 670 the Score. "I think there’s a great shot that he can help us here in the next couple weeks and into October hopefully.”
Stroman hasn't played in a game since July 31. Originally, he went on the injured list with a hip injury. Shortly after, news dropped he endured a cartilage fracture in his ribs.
He doesn't know how he incurred the ailment and doctors didn't give him a clear timeline. They prescribed him as much inactivity as possible to let the injury heal on its own.
But recently, according to Hawkins, Stroman is starting ramp-up activity.
“He’s thrown several bullpens, several live BPs, and we need to make a decision on the best time to get him active for us,” Hawkins said. “He’s definitely champing at the bit to get there, and that’s a good thing. When a player is starting to say, ‘Hey, I’m ready, I’m ready to rock and roll,’ that usually means that they’re ready to compete. That will be the decision we have to make.”
As it stands, the Cubs are 4.0 games back in the NL Central division, behind the Milwaukee Brewers. In the Wild Card, the Cubs are 2.0 games above the threshold, holding onto the second playoff spot in the race.
It's a tight race. Not just in the division, but the Wild Card race has six legitimate contenders. After the Arizona Diamondbacks, who own the final playoff spot behind the Cubs, the Marlins, Giants and Reds are all 0.5 games back on the Diamondbacks.
It's anyone's game to claim a playoff spot. Being at full strength is imperative as the schedule dwindles.
Stroman told 670 the Score he'd be willing to take on any role the Cubs ask of him. Whether it's the rotation or back in the starting rotation, Stroman just wants to help the Cubs win.
That proclamation begs the question --- how many starts would it take for the Cubs to feel confident about rolling Stroman out for the playoffs (assuming they make the postseason)?
“Not many,” Hawkins said. “He’s got a pretty strong track record. It’s really about if he’s physically in the place to be able to have the delivery and the stuff profile and the command profile that we’re accustomed to. But his foundation is pretty set. If he’s healthy and he’s able to repeat the way that he’s been able to repeat in the past, I think your confidence on that goes up pretty quickly."