Although the future of the coaching staff will be determined by whomever the team names the next manager, there is a clear-cut difference between one coach and the rest. Pitching coach Chris Bosio, who led the Cubs staff to 91 quality starts, which ranked fifth in the National League, set the bar high – and met it.
Working with a pitching staff that, at times, resembled an army of misfit toys rather than big-league pitching talent, Bosio worked wonders.
Of course, there were struggles. That was a given heading into the 2013 campaign. The real talent came in minimizing the damage – allowing the team to stay competitive for a majority of the season.
The Cubs pitching staff tied with the Atlanta Braves – an organization that prides itself on strong pitching corps annually – for the fourth best batting average allowed in the National League, at .244.
Southpaw Travis Wood was the team’s only All-Star Game representative this season, and with good reason. Despite a sub-.500 record of 9-12, – which was caused largely by poor run support – Wood compiled 200 innings pitched, a first for his career. In those 200 innings, he made 32 starts, 24 of which were quality starts. That mark was the fourth-best amongst National League pitchers. He also posted a 1.15 WHIP to go along with his 3.11 ERA – both testaments to the work of both Wood and Bosio.
As a team, the Cubs made 91 quality starts – the fifth best mark in the National League. As mentioned, opponents hit just .244 against Chicago pitching. The club earned run average left something to be desired at 4.00, but a WHIP of 1.29 ranked fifth in the league, showing signs of improvement from a year prior.
If these numbers are compared to those from 2011, a noted improvement across the board is apparent. Opponents hit 15 points higher against Cubs pitching, the team allowed almost half a run more per game and posted 18 fewer quality starts in 2011. The staff’s WHIP also declined by .10 and opponents’ on-base percentage was 17 points lower in 2012.
Jeff Samardzija struggled, at times, but notched 210 strikeouts in 213.2 innings. His continued development will be a major point of focus for the organization moving forward. His record (8-13) and earned run average (4.34) left much to be desired, and should Bosio be retained, the right-hander will likely be a major focal point moving forward this offseason.
Bosio defended Sveum after his dismissal last week, reiterating the fact that the entire staff wants nothing more than to win – and soon.
Everyone wants to win so bad it hurts. We’ve had opportunities to win games, but we’re overmatched sometimes. But we give [opponents] a run for their money. The big thing we’re all guilty of is we want to win. We want to win bad. We all have the will to win, whatever it takes, but sometimes we tend to beat ourselves.