Chicago Cubs: Why a six-man rotation makes perfect sense

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 19: Mike Montgomery
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 19: Mike Montgomery /
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(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Preparing for the long haul

This one may seem counter-intuitive. How would getting pitchers extra rest lend itself to preparing for the shorter rotations teams typically deploy in the postseason? It wouldn’t, at least not in that context.

But what it would do provide a built-in control to help manage pitch count and innings count throughout the season. This would (theoretically) keep the arms in position to be used heavier in a late-season playoff push or to be leaned on more heavily once the postseason begins.

For a team that has had three consecutive deep playoff runs, the value of having fresh pitchers entering October cannot be understated. A six-man rotation would give the Cubs a luxury they haven’t had in recent years – innings availability for starters.

Mike Montgomery Himself

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While Monty acquitted himself quite well in his first shot in the rotation, many would point to ERA in saying Montgomery is a far better relief pitcher than starter. This would not be telling the whole story. Yes, Monty’s career ERA clocks in over a full run higher as a starter. However, his peripheral stats – WHIP, strikeouts and K/BB ratio – are actually better as a starter.

In 38 career starts, the left-hander has seen two or fewer runs of support in 15 of those. His stats aren’t good in those games, likely due to pressing or perhaps a poor mental approach. Conversely, when getting at least three runs of support as a starter, he carries a career 3.23 ERA.

He has nine wins in 11 decisions in those 23 games. These numbers compare favorably to the league average starter, so the case could be made that he deserves a shot to show what he has as a regular starter. Since it isn’t likely that Monty will start at the expense of another starter. Slotting him in as the number six starter makes much more sense.