Chicago Cubs: You can’t teach experience
Even Jon Lester, who has had his rough moments after a great start to the season, responded to the disastrous back-to-back walk-offs this week with a gem when the Cubs desperately needed a stopper. His six innings of scoreless ball Saturday may not have been pretty at all times, but the W after the game sure looks nice. Despite a couple rough patches, Lester has struck out 39 and walked just 14 in his last seven starts.
One of the reasons for this second half surge in performance from the rotation has got to be the strikeout/walk rate for everyone. Maybe this means the Cubs are challenging hitters more, maybe it means their stuff has been so good that guys are chasing more often.
Whatever the reason, since the break, the Cubs’ rotation has struck out 176 hitters while issuing just 35 free passes. A 5-to-1 ratio will generally get it done in a game where 3/1 is pretty good. Make ’em earn it, right?
Pounding the strike zone, attacking up, and commanding their pitches within the strike zone have put the entire team in a great position to win lots of ball games; unfortunately, the bullpen, offense, and defense have had other ideas lately.
If Cole Hamels can round back into form after a rough and no doubt emotional reunion-game in the City of Brotherly Love this week, the Cubs will at least know that the rotation won’t be a problem down the stretch. Can’t make any promises about the pen, though…