Handing out Cubs starting rotation midseason report cards

There's been a lot of good, some so-so and a little disaster for Chicago starters.
Chicago Cubs v Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago Cubs v Milwaukee Brewers / Stacy Revere/GettyImages
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It hasn't been perfect, but Cubs starting pitching has, by and large, been pretty darned good here as the club takes a breath at the All-Star Break. Chicago starters rank fourth in the National League in ERA, despite a 6.05 ERA and 0.5 fWAR from Jameson Taillon and boast a pair of All-Stars in Marcus Stroman and Justin Steele.

If the Cubs are going to come out of the Midsummer Classic on a hot streak (which they need if they want to avoid selling for a third straight summer), the rotation will have to hold its own in the back half of July and the bats will need to find some consistency and start delivering hits in clutch spots.

Cubs Midseason Report Card - Drew Smyly: C+

Out of the gates, Drew Smyly looked like an absolute steal after the front office brought him back into the fold in free agency. If you look at his eight start stretch from April 10 to May 17, the veteran worked to a 1.58 ERA and 3.06 FIP while limiting opponents to a .179 batting average. Of course, that included his near-perfect game at Wrigley Field, which easily marked the high water mark of his season.

Since Memorial Day weekend, though, it's been a very different story for Smyly: 8 starts, a 6.75 ERA, 6.57 FIP and .997 OPS allowed. Hopefully, the All-Star Break gives him a chance to catch his breath and figure some things out because the drop-off at the back of the rotation has been drastic of late and the margin for error is too small at this point for that to continue.