Chicago Cubs: Examining the back end of the starting rotation

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Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sport

Clayton Richard: 2-0, 3.00 ERA, 1.056 WHIP

At the beginning of July, the Chicago Cubs acquired Clayton Richard from the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash considerations. Richard earned three starts with the Cubs, accumulating a 2-0 record and a 3.00 ERA. However, after the Cubs added Dan Haren prior to the July 31 MLB trade deadline, they decided to limit his role to bullpen duty. In 11 appearances, he has a 5.40 ERA.

Despite his imposing frame, Richard isn’t a power pitcher. According to Brooks Baseball, his four seam fastball has an average speed of 92.28 MPH. He only strikes out 4.9 batters per nine innings and relies on a 58.4 percent ground ball rate to get outs. Additionally, according to fangraphs, over 72 percent of contact off of Richards categorized as medium or hard contact.

For the Chicago Cubs, using Richard as a starting pitcher moving forward wouldn’t be an ideal scenario. However, if this situation does present itself, it is encouraging that his ERA as a starter is better than his ERA as a reliever. He started in one postseason game with the Chicago White Sox in 2008. In that game he pitched 6.1 innings and gave up one run.

Next: Tsuyoshi Wada