Probable Pitchers

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Tuesday at 7:40pm CT – Chris Rusin vs. Jorge De La Rosa

Rusin had a tough time with command of his pitches in his last start against the Reds, giving up five runs on 10 hits over five innings. Opposing teams are batting .326 off the rookie, who is 0-2 in three road starts. In his first start since undergoing Tommy John surgery last year, De La Rosa pitched competitively even without his top fastball velocity Thursday at San Francisco. He allowed six runs (five earned) over 3 2/3 innings with a walk and a strikeout.

Wednesday at 7:40pm CT – Jason Berken vs. Drew Pomeranz

Berken’s second start was much improved as he held the Reds to two hits over six scoreless innings. The righty felt he was able to execute his pitches better and get ahead of the count. He has two more starts to make a good impression for next year. Pomeranz couldn’t establish his fastball in the strike zone against the D-backs, falling behind in counts early. He threw 85 pitches in three innings, allowing four runs on four hits and five walks.

Thursday at 2:10pm CT – Chris Volstad vs. Jhoulys Chacin

Volstad took his second straight no-decision last time out against the Cardinals, allowing three runs in five innings, and hasn’t pitched into the sixth since Aug. 31. He is 1-3 with a 6.86 ERA in four career starts against Arizona. Chacin was aggressive with his fastball in the first inning against the D-backs on Saturday, and was hit hard for three runs. He mixed his slider and changeup in effectively for three shutout innings but came out after 84 pitches in four innings.

Our Take

Have you ever watched a direct-to-video sequel to a blockbuster movie? It can be disorienting. While some of the story lines and characters might carry over from the first film, it usually features a cast of unknown or unpopular actors filling in for the original stars.

That’s how I feel about this current Cubs pitching staff. The guys I recognize I don’t really care to see again, and the rest of them are an interchangeable cast of placeholders and unknowns. And while some of them have performed better than expected (even if only slightly), most of them have shown why we’ve never heard their names before.

I don’t have high hopes for them as they travel to hitter-friendly Coors Field. But at this point, are wins really wins? I’m no fan of tanking the season to gain a better slot in the draft–especially when there’s not a Strasburg-like can’t-miss prospect out there for the taking. But facing off against another bottom-dweller, these games will have an impact on next year’s draft order.

So I guess we look at it from this perspective: wins are wins, but losses could be wins, too.

Series Prediction: Meh.

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