As if the Cubs season could not be filled with more misery, the Cubs got some more unfortunate news today. Matt Garza has been scratched from his scheduled start tomorrow due to stiffness in his right elbow. With Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner already on the disabled list since April 8, the Cubs can ill-afford to put another starting pitcher on the disabled list. Considering that the Cubs have not had an off-day this week they are not in the position where they can opt to skip Garza in the rotation and go to Ryan Dempster. With the status of Garza not really known right now, the Cubs are not planning on calling up a pitcher from Iowa.
Manager Mike Quade has not announced a starter yet for Sunday’s game, but alluded to the idea that it figures to be a bullpen day for the Cubs.
"In the meantime, Quade said he’s not sure who will start Sunday night’s game in Boston. Quade ruled out a call-up from the minor leagues as the starter, saying it will be a “bullpen night” for the team. However, after Saturday’s game, the Cubs could bring up someone from Triple-A to change their bullpen mix. ESPN CHICAGO"
More specifically, Quade suggested that either Jeff Samardzija or James Russell will start the game for the Cubs tomorrow. Neither are ideal options for the Cubs. We have seen the act of James Russell as a starting pitcher before, and it is not a good one. In fact, the decision to leave Russell in the rotation longer than he should been is one the leading criticisms against Quade this season. As a starter this season, Russell is 0-4 with an ERA of 10.05. Regardless of the fact that Russell has been unsuccessful as a starter this season, it would not be wise for the Cubs to put him as the starter tomorrow. Even though he would likely only throw 3 innings, it puts the Cubs at an immediate disadvantage.
It doesn’t make too much sense either to make Jeff Samardzija the starter either tomorrow. Granted it is only one game, Quade should not want to mess with Samardzija’s mindset. No matter how shaky he has been this season, Samardzija has slowly become familiar with the role he is in with the Cubs right now. Samardzija has already voiced his displeasure in the past about switching between roles, so, that too may play a part in whether or not he is the starting pitcher tomorrow night.
As for Garza, the injury does not appear to be serious. Garza told reporters today that he has been able to pitch his last few starts with the injury, it was just the cold weather in Boston did not allow his arm to loosen up. In any case, Garza is expected to have it evaluated on Monday, but he is not expected to miss more than one start.