Iowa Cubs get another solid outing from Caleb Kilian

Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /

Instead of dwelling on an ugly Cubs loss to the perennial cellar-dwelling Pirates at home, we’re going to get our Friday started by looking to the minors – specifically, Caleb Kilian’s start for Triple-A Iowa on the road against the Louisville Bats.

Kilian, ranked as Chicago’s number four overall prospect by MLB Pipeline, continued his strong start to the season with another gem for the I-Cubs. The right-hander tied a season-high for an Iowa hurler with five innings pitched, allowing just one earned on three hits, walking one and punching out four.

Despite his effort, Kilian came away with a no-decision instead of a win after the Bats rallied late to take down Iowa. On the year, he now boasts a 1.54 ERA in three starts and, like most pitchers, is starting to get stretched out. He’s gone from 1 1/3 to 4 and, now, 5 innings pitched in each of his starts.

We’ve seen that issue take a toll at the big league level already, with starters completely failing to work deep into games. In fact, the Cubs are one of only seven teams in the league without a quality start yet this year.

It’ll likely be some time until Kilian gets the call, despite the early results. He’s got just 128 career Minor League innings to his name – so letting him get a decent amount of work with Iowa this year will likely be a focus for the front office. If all goes well, though, we could see him later this year with the Cubs.

Cubs will need better starting pitching as the season goes on

As for the big league staff, hopefully Wade Miley will factor into the mix by early May. He’s set to throw another bullpen on Thursday – his third of late – and then the Cubs will re-evaluate the left-hander. One of the early pick-ups of the winter, the veteran hasn’t get taken the mound with Chicago.

Marcus Stroman has disappointed early – although that’s been fairly common in recent years. Major Cubs pitching free agent additions have regularly struggled initially only to settle in and do their thing with time. There’s no reason to anticipate Stroman will be an exception to that trend.

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On the whole, Chicago has the fourth-highest starter ERA in all baseball. That’s not going to lead to a lot of wins. At least there’s hope on the horizon in the form of Kilian and other pitching prospects like Jordan Wicks, DJ Herz, etc.