Cubs News: Hayden Wesneski guts his way through another strong start

Miami Marlins v Chicago Cubs
Miami Marlins v Chicago Cubs / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

For the second time in as many starts, Cubs rookie right-hander Hayden Wesneski flirted with danger, but danced his way out of some tight spots, spinning six innings of one-run ball. That continues a recent stretch of strong starts that spans the last three weeks, a stretch in which he's allowed just one earned in four of his five starts.

After impressing this spring and beating out internal competition for the final spot in the rotation, things got off to a rocky start for Wesneski, who came over from the Yankees in the Scott Effross trade last summer.

Cubs: Hayden Wesneski has turned things around after a tough start

Two starts in, the right-hander had a 12.00 ERA and opponents were hitting .444 against him. That's obviously not ideal - and fans were quick to start wondering if Wesneski was up to the challenge. He's since responded in a big way, looking more and more reliable every time out.

The first (and second, to a degree) inning has been a thorn in Wesneski's side. Entering Sunday's matchup against Miami, he'd allowed an 1.148 OPS in the first and 1.095 mark in the second, far and away his worst single-inning marks.

Thankfully, a 3-6-1 inning-ending double play kept the Marlins off the board in his latest start and, aside from a Yuli Gurriel basket shot to left field, Skip Schumaker's club couldn't get much going against him. Wesneski finished the afternoon with six strikeouts, no free passes and just five hits allowed over his six innings of work - making it a string of five straight starts with one or fewer walks.

Much has been made (and rightfully so) of the work turned in by Marcus Stroman and Justin Steele this year. But behind them, Drew Smyly and Wesneski have both quietly been reliable, as well, making this team's starting rotation one of the best in the National League.

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Even prior to Wesneski's gem, the Cubs boasted the top starter ERA in the Senior Circuit. His emergence over the last few weeks as a key contributor only deepens a staff that will soon welcome back Kyle Hendricks to further bolster its ranks.