Chicago Cubs: Mike Montgomery and Tyler Chatwood are still viable fifth starters

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs pitchers Mike Montgomery and Tyler Chatwood have both had a rough go of it this season. But they remain more than adequate as back-end rotation pitchers.

Tyler Chatwood has had a very up and down start to the year. The Chicago Cubs’ $38 million number five man has been about as consistent as bird feces. Theo Epstein saw something in him from his time in Colorado. And he took a chance on him.

In 2017, Chatwood’s road ERA was 3.49, compared to a 6.01 ERA at home. So it appears as though the Cubs’ brass believed it was just Coors field holding him back. Well, now he’s out of the Rockies and into the North Side of Chicago, but he’s still having trouble finding his rhythm.

Before the storm

More from Cubbies Crib

Before starting in Tuesday night’s home game against the Cleveland Indians, Chatwood had a 3.14 ERA. That seems pretty good until you dig a little deeper. A WHIP of 1.620 suggests his ERA is due to climb exponentially.

You can’t expect to keep limiting the damage when you’ve got a 7.9 BB/9 walk rate. And he showed that against the Indians when he couldn’t make it out of the third inning, giving up four earned runs on four hits and six walks.

Mike Montgomery has had his fair share of problems, too. In fact, he’s been worse than Chatwood, though the spotlight has not shone as bright on Montgomery. After giving up six earned runs in 2 1/3 innings of relief during Tuesday night’s game, Montgomery’s ERA has ballooned all the way up to 5.33. His WHIP isn’t pretty, either, sitting at 1.461.

It will get better

It’s not been an ideal first couple of months for the pair. But if history is any indication, they’ll turn things around. As bad as Tuesday’s start was, Chatwood’s ERA is still just 3.74. Of course, that number will continue to rise if he keeps walking batters. But we’ve seen him put together some good outings this season. So it’s not as if he’s incapable of being effective.

As for Montgomery, since 2016, he’s never finished a season with an ERA over 3.38. So don’t convince yourself that Montgomery is a 5.00 ERA guy moving forward. He’s not. And as far as consistency goes, Montgomery and Chatwood aren’t the only ones struggling. It’s the entire pitching staff (with the exception of Jon Lester.) Heck, the lineup has actually been the biggest wildcard, for that matter.

Next: How are the Cubs looking a quarter of the way through the season?

The bottom line is this: Chatwood and Montgomery’s inconsistencies are concerning, but it’s still too early to do anything rash. While both players have left a lot to be desired, neither has proven they should be dumped aside. Yet.