Chicago Cubs: Tyler Chatwood not to blame for team’s Tuesday loss

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Despite turning in a solid performance against Milwaukee Tuesday night, Chicago Cubs right-hander Tyler Chatwood once again assumed the role of scapegoat.

The bats giveth and the bats taketh away. One day after the offense rallied in 11 to top the Brewers and assume first place, the Chicago Cubs managed just two hits in a 4-0 loss. On the mound, Tyler Chatwood did what he could – but when you don’t score, you don’t win.

Only Travis Shaw got to Chatwood. The Milwaukee third baseman smacked two-run doubles in both the bottom of the first and the bottom of the third, accounting for all four Brewers’ tallies. So, at face value, that’s not ideal. But if you dig a little deeper, this was hardly a clunker from the Cubs right-hander.

Chatwood turned in five innings of work – charged with just three earned runs (four overall). But, as well all know, there’s one aspect of his starts we all watch with tepid anxiety: walks.

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But, when he gave way to the bullpen, he walked just two of the 22 batters he faced on the night. He struck out five – a decline on his season averages on both accounts. But if only striking out five means you don’t walk eight guys, I think we’ll all take that.

Somehow, despite a 1.753 WHIP and a perfectly even strikeout-to-walk ratio (1:1), Chatwood still boasts a sub-4.00 earned run average. His 4.77 FIP certainly indicates he’s benefited quite a bit from his defense behind him – but, at least on its face, we’re trending in the right direction.

Speaking of defense, the Cubs didn’t exactly inspire confidence in the third inning. After completely botching a rundown – failing to force either of the runners out  – Shaw delivered his second run-scoring double of the game. The typically rock-solid Chicago defense looked as shaky as the offense. And that’s not what you want to hear in a head-to-head rivalry matchup.

Is he starting to trend up? Potentially.

He ended the month of May with a pair of starts in which he lasted less than three innings. But, Chatwood pitched into the fifth or sixth in three-straight outings to open June. Granted, he’s walked 13 batters in his 15 innings across those starts. He also limited the damage and provided at least some relief to an overtaxed bullpen.

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I don’t know if a Tyler Chatwood start will ever not induce ulcers out of sheer stress. He can look as unhittable as the zone often appears to be for him from inning to inning. While consistency would certainly be helpful, we may be asking too much from him – at least at this point.