Today, two of our MLBbros will take the mound against each other in a NL battle. The Chicago Cubs take on the Washington Nationals. And that means there will be a bro starting on the mound for each team, as Marcus Stroman and Josiah Gray will square off.
This will be an exciting matchup between the two, even though both teams don’t have the best record. You better believe whenever these two make a start, they’re going to do their best to put their team in a position to win the game.
Both pitchers made their last start against the opposing team.
Stroman pitched on August 9, going five innings, striking out six and giving up four earned runs and Gray threw on the 10th, giving up two earned runs while striking out five.
They both earned a no decision during each game.
Well, today one of these brothers can earn a win and add it to their resume this season. Both of these pitchers have made a name for themselves during their careers, and they have represented well for the MLBbros.
Let’s take a look at how each one has performed this season.
Marcus Stroman, Chicago Cubs
Stroman is in his eighth season and his first one with the Cubs. Numbers wise, the 2022 season has not been one of his best, but Stroman has still had some impressive outings this year.
Back in May, he was lights out against the Milwaukee Brewers. He threw seven innings of shutout baseball, only allowing two hits while striking out five as he picked up the win. Don’t let the 3-5 record fool you, Stroman can still go out there and control the game from the mound.
He’s done that multiple times throughout his career, especially early on when he got to the big leagues.
Stroman will look to pick up his first win during August and let’s see if he can continue his streak of striking out six or more batters. He’s done so in his last two starts.
In his second season, he’s shown tremendous improvement on the mound, and you can see that he’s more comfortable and confident too. The 24-year-old is getting a lot of experience early on in his career and that will only help him as his career progresses.
This year, Gray has owned teams on the mound. Back on July 6 he had one of his best performances of his career against the Philadelphia Phillies. He threw six innings striking out a career-high 11 batters and gave up two runs while he secured the win. Gray could finish the season with double-digit wins, which would be very impressive.
This matchup between Stroman and Gray could be a back-and-forth game as both pitchers could wreak havoc for opposing hitters.
As he did for much of 2021, Mets melanated mound marauder Taijuan Walker has carried a huge load as he’s effectively led the pitching staff in the absence of Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom.
Despite Scherzer just recently returning from nearly seven weeks on the injured list with a strained left oblique and deGrom set to reclaim his spot atop the rotation after a stint on the IL, the Mets have been able to maintain their position atop the NL East behind Walker’s ace pitching.
In fact, Sunday’s start was the first time in 10 starts that Walker failed to complete the sixth inning. He has been a workhorse and should have been named to the All-Star team considering the success of the team and how its No. 3 starter has performed like a true No. 1.
August is here and this bro is showing no signs of slowing down. @tai_walker had a very solid outing against the @Marlins. He threw 5 and 2/3 innings recording his ninth win of the season.
With the exception of a 10-day IL stint in April with bursitis in right shoulder, Walker’s 18 starts are third-most on the team (Carlos Carrasco has 20, Chris Bassitt has 19) and the last time the Mets lost in a game Walker started was back on July 10th, a 2-0 loss to the Miami Marlins in 10 innings. Walker was Black ace bangin’ in that game, going seven innings and allowing 0 runs on three hits.
Sunday’s 5 2/3 innings pitched was the first time since June 2 that Walker didn’t deliver a quality start, but it was enough. He was on his bulldog, throwing 101 pitches in a 9-3 Mets win, while lifting his record to an impressive 9-2.
“I didn’t think I had my best stuff,” Walker said. “The offense did a real good job of scoring runs early. I really wanted to go out and finish the sixth inning…it was alright.”
As Walker continues to provide solid outings and innings for the Mets – and his splitter’s effectiveness continues to rate an all-time level – the standard that he’s judged by also increases.
Max Scherzer’s return definitely alleviates some pressure for Walker. Since coming off the IL Mad Max has a 1.39 ERA in 32.,1 innings pitched with 45 Ks in five starts. deGrom could post even better numbers when he returns. The win was also the NL East-leading Mets’ sixth straight win as they get locked in and fully loaded for the playoff stretch run.
Now do you understand why the Mets will be almost impossible to defeat come playoff time if fully armed?
MLBbro.com content editor Mark Gray takes us “Black In The Days” to celebrate the greatest Black pitcher in MLB history. A Top 10 all-time mound marauder, who had his best games in the biggest World Series moments against powerhouse teams.
Three years ago, on February 18th in 2019, MLB lost one of its pioneers and baseball lost its first Black pitching star. His death was announced by the Dodgers in a Tweet, but it didn’t represent the full impact of Newcombe’s MLB experience as a racial barrier-breaker back in the 50s. Baseball fans, celebrities, and common folk from all walks of life sent their condolences.
Former President Barrack Obama put things in perspective in 2010 when he said, “I would not be here if it were not for Jackie and it were not for Don Newcombe.
“Newk” was a fearless, ferocious fireballer and baseball pioneer. He was the first black pitcher to start in a World Series and the first Black Ace to win 20 games in an MLB season. He’s also the only baseball player ever to win Rookie of The Year, MVP and the Cy Young Award.
Branch Rickey’s Integration Plan
Born in Madison, New Jersey on June 14, 1926, Newcombe only lived there because his dad was a chauffeur for this wealthy family. His pops made a good living making beer and driving.
Newcombe’s only connection to baseball was his uncles, who played sandlot ball on Staten Island. His parents would get into the car on the weekends and go watch them play.
A big-time New Jersey athlete taught Newcombe how to play baseball at age 13.
While Jackie Robinson gets all of the props for being Branch Rickey’s first choice to break baseball’s color barrier, Newcombe was the first African-American pitcher brought in by the Dodgers
He started in the Negro Leagues with the Newark Eagles and then after meeting baseball’s great emancipator, his life changed and he started his MLB career in 1949.
Said Newcombe in a classic interview with former Yankees and Mets announcer Fran Healy:
In 1945, we played in an All-Star Game…Negro League stars like Monte Irvin, Roy Campanella… and I happened to be on the same team with them. And we were playing at Ebbets Field and I pitched the first three innings against a major league team and shut them out.”
(After the game) into the clubhouse walked this thin white man with a great big hat on that looked like a parachute and while I was sitting there getting ready to shower he asked me if I was Don Newcombe? I replied, Yes. He asked me if I could come to the Dodgers office tomorrow in Brooklyn to talk with Branch Rickey about playing on a new Negro League team the Dodgers were starting.”
He says Rickey was using the Negro League All-Star team as a diversion to mask his true intentions of integrating baseball which he eventually and strategically did in 1947 with Jackie Robinson, and then Roy Campanella in 1948 and Newcombe the following season.
The rest is MLB history. Together they played on the first racially-integrated baseball team in the United States.
Of all the positions in baseball, pitcher is considered the glamour position. The pitcher usually gets the riches, glory or becomes the goat. Newcombe had an even rougher time than Robinson according to some historians because he was a pitcher and it was considered a white mans position.
Players, fans and at times, umpires had a strong disdain for Newcombe, and the pressure and racism and some postseason failure eventually drove him to alcohol addiction, which shortened his career.
In addition to the hate mail and death threats, the Black players on the Dodgers couldn’t stay at some of the same Southern hotels as their white teammates. It was a demoralizing and angering experience.
“All we wanted to be was a red-blooded Americans like everybody else,” Newcombe told Healy.
However, Newcombe was able to overcome his addictions and keep his family intact. He became a positive influence on the community and cleaned up his act, maintaining his sobriety from 1967 until his death
Newcombe has given speeches to more than 2 million people ranging from schoolchildren to chief executive officers. The speeches vary, but the theme remains the same.
“The life you have now is the only one you get,” he said. “You can’t burn it out with drugs, or drown it with alcohol, turn it in and get a new one.”
Newcombe became director of community relations for the Dodgers in 1970, and for 14 years headed the team’s alcohol and drug program, the first of its kind in the major leagues.
An amazing, towering Black Ace, the 6-foot-4 Newcombe had a stellar career on the hill with four All-Star appearances, 149 wins, just 90 losses and 24 shutouts. He was in the Top 10 among NL pitchers in ERA four times, wins five times, and strikeouts five times. He also could handle the bat, hitting 271 with 15 homers and 108 RBIs in 878 career at-bats.
But it’s what he did for future generations of players that make him extremely worthy of this Shadow League Black History Moment reflection.
There’s a line in the song “The World Is Yours” off rapper Nas’ classic “Illmatic” album.
“My strength, my son, a star will be my resurrection
Born in correction, all the wrong sh-t I did, he’ll lead in right direction.”
Former Mets pitching legend Dwight Gooden can relate to those words when it comes to his life and his youngest son of six kids, Dylan.
During his MLB career Gooden, aka Dr. Doom, aka Doc, went 194-112 as a starting pitcher for the Mets, Yankees, Indians, Astros and Rays. Gooden is a Black Ace, one of just 15 melanated mound marauders to post a 20-win season.
Gooden burst into the league as a 19-year-old flame-throwing phenom in 1984, helping to propel the Mets above the Yankees as New York’s glamour squad. His story is one of tragedy and triumph, and Doc accomplished a lot in his baseball career, including being a four-time All-Star, two-time World Series Champion, Cy Young Award winner and won multiple championships. He’s also a pitching Triple Crown winner (wins, strikeouts and earned run average), NL Rookie of the Year, MLB wins leader, MLB ERA leader and two-time strikeout leader.
If not for off-the-field troubles that curtailed his meteroric rise, Gooden would have been a shoo-in for Cooperstown induction. Instead, he’s the poster child for any cautionary tale about athletes, money, pressure, drugs and the temptations of city life.
Dylan Gooden Following Dad’s Athletic Background
Dylan Gooden doesn’t throw heat, but he brings it on the football field as a 2023 four-star edge rusher from Olney, Maryland, where he plays for the Our Lady of Good Counsel Falcons. Gooden’s team participates in arguably one of the five best high school football leagues in the country (WCAC). With games annually against the DeMatha Stags, Gonzaga College High School Eagles and St. John’s Cadets, the talent level is formidable.
Gooden showed out in that conference this past season as he led the Falcons to the brink of a championship, coming up just short in the title game to the Cadets. For his efforts, he received his fourth star, making him one of the highest-rated players at his position in the country. He’s the No. 11-rated edge rusher in the nation, and he’s ranked No .2 at his position in the football-rich state of Maryland.
Gooden Will Ball At The Power 5 Level: Schools Covet His Length & Versatility On The Edge
The versatile and Uber athletic Gooden holds offers from 17 Power 5 institutions, including Arizona, Boston College, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Old Dominion, Ole Miss, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Texas A&M, USC, and West Virginia.
Gooden recently tweeted out a list of eight schools who made his final cut.
Texas A&M, Penn State, WVA, Michigan State, Maryland, Notre Dame, Miami, Tennessee all made the list to secure the rising pass rusher/outside linebacker’s commitment.
The Maryland Terrapins Need This Commitment: Can’t Let Talent Like This Out Of The State
With Gooden being a prized recruit located in the state of Maryland, it’s imperative Michael Locksley and the rising Terrapins do everything in their power to keep him in-state. He provides a position of need for a Terps program that has no problem scoring points with quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa and wide receivers Rakim Jarrett and Dontay Demus all scheduled to return to College Park for the next few seasons.
Maryland’s glaring weakness has been on the defensive side of the football. The recruitment of Gooden is a moment of truth for Maryland’s ability to compete in the Big Ten.
They just can’t allow conference foes, Penn State and Michigan State to take Gooden. West Virginia is also reportedly very high on Gooden’s list.
Gooden’s strengths are UMD’s weaknesses. Currently at 205 pounds, he could play at 230-240 with ease. He’s a high-level athlete who has fast-twitch muscles. His length and speed off the edge is what intrigues the Power 5 schools. A high motor enables him to track down plays on back side.
The weight room will become his best friend over the next year as he adds bulk to his slender, wiry frame. Speed is his best asset as of now, so the continued development would make him less of a one-trick pony. He’ll have a huge effect on whatever Power 5 program he chooses and has the chance to be an NFL prospect.