Chicago Cubs to start three rookies in final series of 2014


According to a report from Carrie Muskat of, the Chicago Cubs have elected to start a trio of rookies in the final series of 2014 – a three-game road trip to Miller Park to take on the Milwaukee Brewers.

More from Chicago Cubs News

Milwaukee, which entered the All-Star Break ten games over .500 at 53-43, has faded badly down the stretch, compiling a 27-34 clip since the midseason mark. That includes a season-high nine-game losing streak that ran from Aug. 26 to Sept. 4 – with three of those losses coming at the hands of the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Entering play on Wednesday, Ron Roenicke‘s club is still three games above .500 at 80-77, but will miss out on the postseason after stumbling in the latter half of 2014.

With both teams already mathematically eliminated from the postseason picture, Ricky Renteria and the Cubs will look to give three of its less-experienced arms one last shot at making an impression before the season draws to a close. Eric Jokisch, Tsuyoshi Wada and Kyle Hendricks, who started Tuesday night’s win over St. Louis at Wrigley Field, will toe the rubber for Chicago in the series that begins in Milwaukee on Friday and concludes Sunday afternoon.

Jokisch, who, along with Wada and Hendricks, made his big league debut this season with the Cubs, pitched well for Triple-A Iowa in 26 starts spanning 158 1/3 innings, to the tune of a 3.58 ERA and a .255 BAA before earning his promotion to Chicago. In three relief appearances with the Cubs, he’s struggled to miss bats, but has avoided being hit hard in terms of runs. Opponents are batting a robust .326 in a limited 10 1/3 innings sample size, but he has allowed just two earned runs.

The left-hander Wada, who is a fairly untraditional rookie given this is his age 33 season, was lights-out for Triple-A Iowa earlier this season, posting a 2.66 ERA in 18 starts and one relief appearance, eventually bringing that solidity and consistency to Chicago. However, after struggling of late, he will be auditioning for a role next season. It was reported earlier this month that his option for 2015 will not be picked up by the Cubs, so other teams may use the southpaw’s start Saturday as an audition, of sorts, for 2015.

In a dozen starts with Chicago, the Japanese lefty is 4-3 with a 3.22 ERA. Opposing hitters are batting just .244 against him and he’s averaging just under 7.5 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. In two of his last three starts, he’s failed to get through five innings for the Cubs, although his last outing was a five-inning effort in which he allowed just one run.

The season concludes with the rookie right-hander Hendricks, who has been nothing short of spectacular this season for the Cubs and should at least warrant some consideration in discussions over the National League Rookie of the Year talks. With a 7-2 record, Hendricks has pitched to a 2.46 ERA and 1.08 WHIP – including a stellar 1.99 earned run average at the Friendly Confines. However, with this game being played in Milwaukee, Chicago fans will have to settle for his slightly-less-impressive 2.95 clip on the road.

If Chicago can play spoiler again on Wednesday night against St. Louis, the team has a shot at avoiding another 90-loss campaign – something that has not been accomplished by the Cubs since 2010. In a fitting end to a season where so much depended on the production of the club’s young players, it will be up to a trio of rookies with something to prove to get the job done.