Chicago Cubs are working with a starting rotation filled with question marks

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Tyler Chat wood / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs need guys to step up if they hope to compete

So there. That’s your three starters you feel pretty OK about. But when we’re talking about rounding out the rotation, I genuinely have no idea what to expect or predict. Hopefully, Quintana will return fairly soon and fill his usual spot every five days. If he doesn’t? Buckle up.

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Suppose Quintana doesn’t get back on the mound in short order. Tyler Chatwood, who’s been inconsistent during his Cubs tenure, to say the least, becomes your fourth starter. That’s not an idea that makes me feel all that confident given the body of work we’ve seen.

Don’t get me wrong, last year, he was a much improved presence on the pitching staff. He split his time between the rotation and the bullpen, making five starts and working to a 3.97 ERA while managing a 3.67 ERA in 33 relief appearances. But how will he perform when he’s slotted in to get the ball ever five days to make a dozen starts? We’ll soon know.

It looks like Alec Mills will take Quintana’s spot in the rotation in the short-term. He gave us a lot to like last season in a hybrid role, posting a 2.75 ERA in 36 innings of work. But again, to me, dropping him into the rotation and expecting similar results isn’t a logical course of action. One brief stint does not a career make.

Next. Offense has had the upper hand early in Summer Camp. dark

For me, the Cubs’ success in 2020 comes down to their pitching. Can Craig Kimbrel get it together? Will the rotation bring enough quality to the table to give the bats a chance to do their job and push across enough runs to get some wins? We’ll soon know – 10 days to go.