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Wednesday

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April 2017

6

COMMENTS

Cubs Tidbits and Rotation Concerns

Written by , Posted in General

It’s been a solid week for North Siders, but marveling at our good fortunes as fans is no fun. Which is why I’m taking a look at one issue that may be atop fans’ minds as we near the end of the first month of the 2017 campaign.

But first a couple of minor items from this week:

Cubs Tidbits

  • Cubs World Series Trophy travel alert: while the Cubs are taking on the Red Sox in Boston this weekend, the trophy will be on display with the Boston Red Sox’s 2004 World Series trophy as part of the “curse breaking” display at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston.
  • Former Cubs outfielder David DeJesus’ transition to Cubs pre- and postgame work with Chicago sports media veteran David Kaplan on Comcast SportsNet has not been seamless, but he’s learning on the job. What have you thought of his performance so far?

Should We Be Concerned About the Starting Rotation?

Cubs pitchers, in terms of ERA, have been right around the league average so far this season at about 3.90. Standing alone, this fact isn’t that alarming, but when you look how much they’ve struggled early in games, it becomes a bit more troubling.

Entering this week, the Cubs had allowed the second-most first inning home runs and total runs in Major League Baseball this season. When you’re constantly forcing your starting rotation to play catch-up rather than allowing them to settle into a groove, that becomes a significant concern.

With that in mind, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that opponents have hit north of .300 against the Cubs in the first inning as well. If our starters have to leave their comfort zone consistently in the first inning, the effects of that can be felt by position players and relievers later in the game.

Yes, it’s way too small a sample size to start worrying about individual pitching performances this early in the season. But Kyle Hendricks, 2016’s MLB ERA leader, has produced a 6.19 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in three starts this season, surrendering 15 hits and four home runs in the process. He’s also issued seven walks in 16 total innings. Not the Kyle Hendricks we’ve grown accustomed to.

What’s your level concern? Is any worrying overblown this early in the season? Should we start to flirt with the idea of trading a prospect for an arm? Or do you fall into the “who cares, we just won the World Series” camp?

  • Doc Raker

    Starting pitching has not been as good as last year, no question. Neither has Schwarbs, bAez or Zo. Joe needs to mix things up, I don’t dig Schwarbs leading off, I know Joe loves the lefty, righty, lefty thing but I would rather have more production than rlefty, righty lefty

    • Eddie Von White

      I thought they were going to come back last night.

      • Sherm

        It didn’t help that Schwarber – the guy Joe wants to get the most at bats is swinging at horrible pitches. His discipline is shattered…probably along with his confidence. Joe needs to put him in the middle of the order to ease the pressure a bit.

      • Doc Raker

        Agree

      • Doc Raker

        Me too. If Schwarbs takes the walk Rizzo’s jack ties the game. bAez swung at 4 pitches no were near the strike zone and ended up making weak contact. Cesar needs some AB’s, bAez needs to learn how to track a pitch and wait for a strike and Schwarbs needs to move down in the order.

        Time for Joe to put a high OBP guy in the 1 hole and hit the pitcher ninth with Schwarbs in the middle.

      • Eddie Von White

        Baez should have poked it to right instead of trying to pull away and outside and grounding to short. As hot as Rizzo is, Schwarbs needs to be working the count and getting on base, not trying to hit 83 jacks in one swing.