Wishing for a revamping of the Cubs pitching staff is not wrong at all. The troubling part, however, is the organization is void of better options for the time being.
As of this posting the Cubs team ERA of 4.21 ranks 22/30 in the majors. The starting staff’s ERA is 4.20 and ranks 20th in the majors. The Cubs bullpen ERA is a tick higher at 4.23, ranking 22nd in MLB.
Any way you shape it, that’s not very good. But to be fair, the Cubs starting rotation doesn’t deserve much blame for the team’s (8-15) start to the season.
Matt Garza & Ryan Dempster have been simply terrific. Jeff Samardzija is holding his own and Paul Maholm has come on strong winning his last two starts.
But that’s where the good ends and the bad begins.
Anyone opposed to calling the Cubs 5-1 win against Philly Friday night the best victory of the season? I’m not.
Not only did Chicago snap a 5-game road losing streak, Paul Maholm outdueled Doc Halladay, the offense manufactured some runs and Rafael Dolis held down a late inning lead for his first big league save.
Big tip of the cap to Maholm who evened his record at (2-2) with his deepest outing of the season, 6.1 IP.
You can’t ignore the fact Philadelphia is challenged offensively. They’re ranked 14/16 in the NL in runs scored (Cubs are 10th). Chase Utley & Ryan Howard are on the DL and J-Roll is mired in a 3-for-37 slump. But give Maholm credit for taking advantage.
At one point the lefty retired 15 batters in a row. He didn’t allow a singe base on balls and trusted his defense to gobble up 14 ground ball outs.
Huge outing for Maholm. Huge lift for the Cubs (7-13).
Several Cubs changed uniform numbers this winter. Several more are sporting Cubbie Blue for the first time.
Here’s a quick look at the numbers some of our Cubs will be wearing during the 2012 season.
The Cubs have been wise to stock pile starting pitching this offseason.
It only makes sense–winning baseball survives on good starting pitching–and the Cubs are clearly thin throughout its rotation.
What Epstein & Co. are playing this winter is a numbers game through free agent signings and trades–a roll of the dice on helter-skelter hurlers who may, or may not, return to their past successes on the mound.
We know it’s not the ideal way to staff a rotation, or the way Epstein and Hoyer will fill the void down the road.
But for the time being, it’s the most practical and affordable way to help mask the development of the Cubs’ soon-to-be youthful and inexperienced lineup.
Obviously, there’s no guarantee the newest additions of Travis Wood, Andy Sonnastine, Chris Volstad and now, Paul Maholm, will pan out.
In fact, it’s more than likely most of them won’t. But let’s say two of them do surprise us. Then what would happen?