Cubs: 3 biggest takeaways from the team’s first 21 games

Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chicago Cubs / Zach Davies
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Cubs searching for consistency, improvements from the starting rotation

The Cubs front office has been pretty adept when it comes to piecing together a pitching staff through a hodgepodge of reclamation projects and buy-low, one-year deals in recent years.

After trading Yu Darvish this winter, Kyle Hendricks assumed the mantle of ace on the North Side. He’s been uncharacteristically inconsistent so far, mixing a pair of clunkers with more typical quality outings – and has battled control issues. Meanwhile, the man who came over from San Diego in the Darvish trade, Zach Davies, enters his start Monday with an ERA north of 8.00.

Trevor Williams hasn’t yet recaptured his 2018 form, struggling to a 4.66 ERA and 1.500 WHIP – although a 3.36 FIP suggests he’s offered more than meets the eye. Adbert Alzolay just returned from the alternate site and, at least in my eyes, needs the opportunity to prove himself from here on out, getting the ball every five days.

The lone bright spot in the rotation? Fan favorite Jake Arrieta who, in his second go-round with the team, has shown a gritty determination reminiscent of Jon Lester early this year. The offense hung him out to dry on Sunday, but he’s been remarkable this season with a 2.57 ERA through his first five starts.

Chicago needs better starting pitching if it wants to ascend the NL Central standings. Hendricks needs to start hitting his spots, Davies has to step up the quality and Arrieta has to continue defying the odds if the Cubs are going to play October baseball again in 2021.