By the names on the back of the jerseys, the Chicago Cubs were supposed to a dominant rotation. They’re not terrible, but not consistent–and that’s caused an issue.
The Chicago Cubs had a very formidable rotation coming into the season. Two former No. 1 starters, a No. 2 and a soon to be top of the rotation guy. The one player was never better than a No. 3 at best–and he’s got the best record. Go figure. That’s one thing about baseball. It doesn’t work out as you planned it.
Coming in, you would have thought the rotation would be plus. But that isn’t the case. Only Kyle Hendricks and Cole Hamels have an ERA under four (3.33 and 3.89, respectively.) Jose Quintana has the best record on the staff at 13-8, but he’s got the second-highest ERA behind the former ace, Jon Lester. Yu Darvish has only 11 decisions in 28 starts, including a streak of 10 no-decisions.
To be clear, the starters haven’t been that bad. But inconsistency has reared its ugly head. Nowhere is this truer than with Lester and Darvish. In Lester’s first seven starts, he was 3-1 with a 1.16 ERA. From May 18 to September 8 he’s posted a 5.62 ERA, a 9-9 record and a .303 BAA.
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From July to September 7, Darvish has a 2.96 ERA with four walks in 67 innings. March to June he pitched to a 4.98 ERA with an astonishing 49 walks in only 90 1/3 innings. To say Darvish has got his walk troubles under control is an understatement.
The weakest link is Lester, and he’s admitted that. But we knew this day was coming. Six-year deal and you expect to get the best pitcher you can? Please. But Lester can rebound, and I believe he will. Not the 19-5 season with a 2.44 ERA. But a 15-10 with a 3.15 ERA? Doable.
Hamels hasn’t been great but hasn’t been that bad, either. Considering Hamels option was picked up after Tyler Chatwood walked every one in sight. Chatwood was removed from the rotation last year, but he’s made a comeback. He’s made a few spot starts and pitched well to the tune of a 5-3 record with 3.86 ERA. Could he return to the rotation again? Maybe, if it’s necessary.
The Cubs rotation was supposed to be the strength. The bullpen was not. But here we are, tied for the second Wild Card spot. Aside from Darvish who’s in line for the win? Consistently inconsistent is the way you’d describe the Chicago Cubs pitching. When you ‘stand pat’ during the offseason, what do you expect?