Someone should have told the Cubs Rodrigo Lopez was pitching again Tuesday night. Then maybe, Chicago wouldn’t have wasted another gutsy performance by Ryan Dempster, who threw 128 pitches over seven innings allowing just two runs, but suffered a 2-1 defeat to the Reds.
True to form, the Cubs offense scratched one measly run across the plate for its staff ace, which has been a season-long trend of futility with Demps on the mound.
Dempster’s 4.33 runs of support per game is worst on the staff, with Matt Garza a close second at 4.37.
In yesterday’s post I talked about not judging a starting pitcher by his win/loss record alone. Dempster’s season, in addition to Garza’s and lately Randy Wells’, has been skewed tremendously by the Cubs’ continuous inability to create runs and drive them in.
Tuesday night was yet another example for Dempster, who, in particular, leads the team in games started (31) quality starts (19) and innings pitched (183.2), but has a losing record (10-12) to show for it.
The more troubling part, however, is the Cubs’ blindness in recognizing the psychological advantage they should gain playing behind two work-horses like Dempster and Garza–guys who ooze confidence and give the team a chance to win during the vast majority of their starts.
Like a lot of things missing on this team, the Cubs simply don’t play with the confidence they should behind its No.1 & No.2 starters.
Granted, every team seems to have one pitcher during the year they don’t score runs for, but the Cubs have three, which also happens to be its best three starters!
It’s hard to put a finger on one single cause, be it Mike Quade’s lineups, a lack of team leadership, or the Cubs simply being a bad baseball team that doesn’t grasp the importance, or care, that its best arms are on the mound.
All said, it’s just another conundrum added to the list of brain teasers for the next GM of the Cubs to figure out. Best of luck solving that by winter’s end.