Chicago Cubs: Secret to success is…leather?

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Pitching Better of Late, But Never a Problem

Cubs pitchers have earned passing grades thus far as well, despite arguments to the contrary. While nobody can pretend that the team has delivered to the lofty expectations some had for the team’s starting unit, overall the team ERA of 3.46 is good for sixth in all of baseball. The team has collectively walked far too many and struck out fewer than most (26th and 18th in the league respectively). But to offset this, they are fifth in baseball in hits allowed per game and have a minuscule home run per game rate against (0.83, fourth best in baseball).

Yu Darvish and Jose Quintana both have ERAs over 5.00, Darvish and Tyler Chatwood carry WHIP rates over 1.40 (league average is around 1.20), and Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks have given up nearly a home run a start. While the bullpen has been dominant at times, Justin Wilson, Eddie Butler, and Mike Montgomery have all struggled at times and they ‘pen collectively still struggles to minimize walks allowed. These aren’t positive numbers.

This substandard “as-is” performance still places the team among the league’s best pitching staffs, statistically speaking. There is undeniably room to build on this success and to get better, but it would be short-sighted to assume it is pitching that has undermined sustained team success.