After getting off to a shoddy start, the Chicago Cubs at least look like they’re starting to figure something out. Winners of five consecutive contests, David Ross’ club has overcome several notable injuries and has clawed its way back above the .500 mark for the first time in weeks.
One member of the team who has been largely steady dating back nearly a full month is right-hander Trevor Williams, who bounced back with a respectable five innings of two-run ball in Saturday’s win over the Pirates at Wrigley.
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In seven starts this year, the veteran hurler – barring one clunker against the Bucs on April 11 and another against the Reds last time out – has been quietly consistent as they come, pitching at least five innings and limiting opponents to two earned runs or fewer. Unfortunately, in those two outings combined, Williams allowed 11 runs in six innings of work.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Every three times out, you can’t fall flat on your face and expect to get the love and adulation from fans. That’s just now how baseball works. But Williams turning in a solid start on Saturday – both coming off a bad outing the last time out and against a team that roughed him up back in April – is a promising sign.
The advanced numbers don’t seem to have much faith in Williams, though. Per Baseball Savant, he’s getting hit, getting hit hard and his stuff is pretty below-average, all told. He’s using his pitch mix, headlined by a four-seamer and a slider, a bit differently than he has in the past, using his heater more and slider less, despite opponents finding a ton of success against the fastball.
Cubs hoping Trevor Williams can get back to his earlier successes
Of course, along with the likes of Jake Arrieta, Chicago brought in Williams this winter via a one-year deal in hopes of the righty recapturing some of the success he saw in the past with the Pirates. To this point, he’s been pretty middle-of-the-road. He doesn’t go deep into ballgames, but more often than not, keeps the Cubs in the game when he takes the ball.
Hopefully, Williams can build on Saturday’s start, in which he didn’t factor into the decision, next time out and work through a lineup for the third time – helping ease the stress that’s been put on an overworked bullpen early in the 2021 campaign.