Chicago Cubs: Tyler Chatwood’s first start was odd, but also expected

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Tyler Chatwood was the last current Chicago Cubs starter to pitch in this young season. It was an odd performance, to say the least, but still overall effective.

The season debut for Chicago Cubs starter Tyler Chatwood was strange, yet, somewhat expected in a funny way. Overall he was able to hold the Reds to one run over six innings of work but walked six batters. His final line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 4 K, 6 BB, 92 pitches

He did not allow any RBI hits, the only run that crossed the plate was a groundout by Adam Duvall after Eugenio Suarez tripled to lead off the fourth inning. Other than that the Reds had a number of scoring chances, but Chatwood was able to get out of said jams with groundballs and strikeouts. Holding Joey Votto hit-less also helped.

It looked like an early disaster for Chatwood in the first, walking the first two batters, but eventually ended it with a double play. In total seven groundball outs and one fielder’s choice tapper at the plate.

Why this is not very surprising.

Six walks are not exactly something you want from any starter, but this has always been one of Chatwood’s weaknesses. He has a career 4.17 BB/9 and 53.5% groundball pitcher while not being a big strikeout guy. The movement he puts on his pitches allows him to get batters to roll over a lot, but also make him miss the zone often.

So not a lot of strikeouts, a lot of grounders and many walks. Exactly what today’s line reads as. At least this time he can be more effective away from Coors Field, as already proven by his 3.31 career ERA on the road. Even with a pitching coach like Jim Hickey improving his command, chances are he will always have more walks than typically desired.

It was important for Chatwood to go six innings today as the other starters have struggled to go five so far. Though six may not seem like a lot, it is good for a five-starter. Since the Cubs lost 1-0 the pen only had to work two innings.

Next: Offense embarasses itself in loss to Reds

It’s a step in the right direction for Chatwood, who overall has to be pleased with his performance. He took some pressure of the bullpen guys after a difficult Marlins series. Maybe the second time around in the rotation will go a little smoother than the first.