Nerves were calmed for many Cubs fans when Yu Darvish’s MRI came back Wednesday.
Chicago Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish had his MRI results come back today. It revealed that there was no structural damage to his arm, but there was some inflammation. This news is not nearly as bad as many feared, though he will still miss some time. He will resume throwing activities very soon.
The timing kind of stinks for him, considering he was pitching a lot better in last two starts. He had surrendered two earned runs in 10 innings while striking out 12 with his velocity right at 95-96. Hopefully, he will be able to come back as soon as possible, but for the time being changes in the rotation will have to be made.
What to do with the rotation.
There are two questions to address for the rotation going forward. First, replacing Yu Darvish. Second, what to do with Tyler Chatwood. From what Maddon said on 670 the Score and just based on what he did Monday, seems like Mike Montgomery will make some more starts. His spot-start against the Pirates (5 2/3IP, 2 hits, 0 runs) seemed convincing enough to keep him in the rotation for now. Plus he has prior experience starting as he made 14 starts in 2017. The only thing is he will basically be a five-starter that can give you 5-6 innings on average. Either way, Montgomery has shown he can be an effective rotation piece.
Montgomery is one spot, but what about Chatwood? There is nothing physically wrong, but his last two starts were disastrous. Against Cleveland and San Francisco he only went 2.2 innings and gave up a combined seven runs and 11 walks. He currently has 45 walks in 48 1/3 innings with a 4.75 FIP and 1.76 WHIP. Chatwood does not necessarily get hit too hard, but the command is an issue.
Should Chatwood still start and try to work things out? Or replace him for the time being? Right now it seems like they are going to work through it. At least based on Maddon’s interview today, he still seems high on him.
Are there other in-house options for the rotation going forward? Many eyes are on prospects Adbert Alzolay or Duane Underwood. Neither have MLB experience, but are right now two of the most-notable pitchers in the farm and are both pitching with Triple-A Iowa. The main question is if they are ready for the majors.
Interesting to note that Underwood (23) has a 3.25 ERA and 1.063 WHIP in 52 2/3 innings. Do not be surprised to see them get big league time at some point this year regardless of how they restructure the rotation.