Chicago Cubs: Examining an unusual distribution of innings this season

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Needing more depth out of the rotation

This season the Cubs starting pitchers are not going deep into games at all. As a result the total number of innings pitched by the starting rotation will likely be much lower than last year.

Jon Lester this year 120.2 IP/180.2 IP last year
Hendricks this year 120.0 IP/139.2 IP last year
Jose Quintana this year 107.2/188.2 IP last year

Both Lester and Quintana are likely to pitch fewer innings this year than last year. Hendricks inning total was low last season due to his stint on the disabled list. But he has also not been pitching deep into games.

In recent years the Cubs have intentionally tried to limit the number of innings the starting staff threw during the regular season, so that they would be more effective in the post season. This year the Cubs just haven’t been getting enough innings per start from the rotation. So trying to limit the starters’ innings can’t begin to be a concern. These short starts has put added demand on the bullpen.

Recently both Lester and Quintana did pitch an extra inning or two than you might have expected while watching the game. But both pitchers threw way over 100 pitches in those starts. In Lester’s case, the Cubs insisted on giving him an extra day of rest afterwards. In Quintana’s case he was coming off of an 11-day break. He followed up that performance with an ugly 51 pitch first inning against St. Louis.