Chicago Cubs: Rotation shaping into form late
Joining this duo? Left-hander Cole Hamels. The former Texas Ranger and Philadelphia Phillie has pitched to a 0.72 ERA in his first four starts as a Cub – putting up some unthinkably good numbers, including a ground-ball rate pushing 60 percent. He’s got the numbers and has the pedigree. Simple as that.
At this moment it appears that these three are the only ‘locks’ in a prospective postseason starting rotation. Obviously, when it comes to the postseason, a team only needs three or maybe four starters because of the off-days MLB implements into the schedule.
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That’s simple enough. Jose Quintana, acquired last season to serve as much-needed rotation depth, the left-hander has been inconsistent this year. At best, he’s your fourth starter come October. Nothing more.
The biggest question mark? Yu Darvish.
The right-hander has not pitched since May 20. Set to make his first rehab start Sunday at South Bend, Darvish could be the difference-maker for Chicago down the stretch. He’s going to be far fresher than the rest of the arms at Joe Maddon‘s disposal.
In fact, allow me to throw in a caveat. I would take out Quintana if Darvish returns in September and pitches anything close to the way he’s capable of. Obviously, he must also show he can stay healthy for the entire postseason run.