The Cubs have only two wins to show for it, but its starting staff is off to a terrific start.
Chicago ranks second in MLB for innings pitched by its starters (46.2), trailing only Seattle’s (48.0). And had it not been for Paul Maholm’s abrupt outing on Tuesday, 4.0 IP, the Cubs likely would lead all of baseball in this category.
It’s an uplifting sign for a club struggling to score runs and a life-saver from its bullpen ranked last in the NL. But as long as the starting pitching holds strong, the Cubs have a chance to creep back towards the .500 mark.
You couldn’t ask more of Ryan Dempster (0-1). Through two starts he’s allowed three earned runs in 14.1 IP, struck out 15 batters, one more than Garza, and has a 1.88 ERA.
Garza (1-0), who was one out away from a complete game shutout vs. Milwaukee on Thursday, has been equally as good. Two starts, 14.2 IP, two earned runs, three walks, 14 punchouts and a 1.23 ERA.
In fact, Garza has been simply brilliant over his last eight starts dating back to last season–(5-0) with an ERA close to 2.00–with the Cubs going 7-1 in those contests.
The real arm of interest, however, is Jeff Samardzija who was sensational in his first outing against Washington with 8.2 innings of work allowing one earned runs with eight strikeouts–and no walks.
If the the Shark continues his success against the formidable Cardinals lineup on Friday, rain withstanding, Chicago will have a starting threesome capable of going toe-to-toe with some of the best staffs in the National League.
Sprinkle in some offense and a little help from the bullpen and our boys in blue might hang in the race longer than first anticipated.