Chicago Cubs: 3 early season observations on this up-and-down team
3 early season Cubs observations- #1. Pitching will decide how far they go
As was the case with 2021, the Cubs pitching will take them as far as they go. Though the Cubs boast one of the league’s best offenses, the pitching is ranked 21st in terms of team ERA at 4.01. Kyle Hendricks tossed a gem on Saturday afternoon, lowering his ERA to a respectable 3.98.
Marcus Stroman turned in his first quality start in a Cubs uniform in a loss to the Braves on Tuesday night – but still carries a 6.98 ERA through his first four starts on the year. He has to be better and he’s undoubtedly well aware of that fact.
Elsewhere in the rotation, Justin Steele has been up-and-down to begin the campaign. After tossing five shutout frames against the Brewers during the Opening Weekend series and two earned in Colorado, Steele has since given up seven earned in just 5 2/3 frames over his previous two starts. In his most recent start, he managed only three innings and needed 79 pitches to do so. Through two starts for Mark Leiter Jr., he has totaled just 7 1/3 innings while allowing nine earned runs.
I believe it won’t be long before Keegan Thompson (0.00 ERA through 13 2/3 brilliant innings) will crack the rotation. In the meantime, the Cubs bullpen has quietly been a solid strength for them to begin the season, much as it was last year. David Robertson has already recorded four saves without giving up a run. Rowan Wick and Mychal Givens both have a sub-2.00 ERA and will be key guys in that mix this year.
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The bats have been solid, but, as I said – it’s up to this pitching staff, especially the rotation, to step up and keep the team’s long shot October hopes alive.