Chicago Cubs experiencing the effects of a depleted starting rotation

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: A rotation that hasn’t pulled its weight

Barring a complete-game effort from Kyle Hendricks this weekend, no Chicago Cubs starter will eclipse 200 innings this year. In fact, no one hit that mark for the Cubs last year either, when the team ran out of gas in the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The only guy to break the 200-inning plateau since 2016? Jon Lester back in the team’s 103-win campaign, where he totaled 202 2/3 frames in his Cy Young runner-up season. But this year, it’s been on a whole different level – especially when you look at the guys who were supposed to help carry the load in 2018.

The Opening Day starting rotation consisted of Lester, Hendricks, Yu Darvish, Jose Quintana and Tyler Chatwood. Darvish and Chatwood, the Cubs’ two big splashes in the offseason, were the keys to this whole thing.

And, looking back, maybe that was the mistake. I mean, why expect to get anything close to 200 innings from a guy like Darvish who’s battled injuries in his career? As for Chatwood, he hit 158 innings back in 2016 for a career-high, but he’s also battled a sky-high earned run average, as well.

With the book definitely closed on Darvish’s season (and pretty much shut on Chatwood, for that matter, the two combined to pitch a grand total of 143 2/3 innings of pretty awful baseball. Despite pitching one time since Aug. 18 and just five times since the end of July, Chatwood leads all of baseball with 95 base-on-balls.

Darvish made just eight starts before being shut down for the season with an elbow injury. With these guys either pitching ineffectively (or not at all), it was up to the pen to come up with the innings – especially early in the season.