When the Cubs were trying to figure out the fifth spot in the rotation during Spring Training, Joe Maddon said he and the front office were discussing ways to include both Travis Wood and Edwin Jackson in the rotation.
At that point in camp, both pitchers were performing well and Jackson had not gone to the wrong park the day he was due to pitch. Soon after Jackson’s GPS failed him, the Cubs announced Travis Wood would begin the season in the rotation.
Fast forward two and a half months and what is now the last spot in the rotation has really struggled. Travis Wood was sent to the bullpen and Edwin Jackson has been used, primarily, when the game is seemingly out of reach.
The Cubs have tried LHP Tsuyoshi Wada and the last two times he has been given the ball hasn’t gone very well. Wada showed last season in his 13 games with the big league team that he was a little better than five-and-dive pitcher. He averaged 5 1/3 innings per start and completed six or more innings five times. In five outings this year, Wada is averaging 4 2/3 innings per start. Wada’s longest outing has been 5 2/3 innings.
Could the Cubs be talking about Travis Wood and Edwin Jackson sharing a spot in the rotation again?
According to a report from the Sun-Times, a possibility for the fifth spot in the rotation “could be to piggyback the pair every five days, alternating which one starts, possibly utilizing lefty-right matchups for some teams.”
Gordon Wittenmyer explained whether it was Wood or Jackson starting, if they got in trouble early Maddon could quickly go to the other, just like he did with Tsuyoshi Wada last Thursday night against the Reds. And that scenario would have “the potential to make it harder on the opposing manager to game plan his lineup and bench.” The Sun-Times did say what role Wada would have on the team.
The Cubs do not appear ready to flip the switch on piggybacking Wood and Jackson.
Joe Maddon said Saturday that Tsuyoshi Wada will make his next scheduled start, which is Tuesday night at Wrigley against the Cleveland Indians.
Until the front office comes up with a solution for the fifth spot in the rotation, Maddon should have a short leash on whoever starts the game that day. It is a must at this point of the season that the other four starters give as many quality innings as possible so Maddon can stay out of the pen and mix and match as needed every five days.
News, Notes and Rumors
• According to a report from the Des Moines Register, RHP Armando Rivero is trying to regain his form with the Iowa Cubs.
• Kris Bryant made an impact on Saturday’s game with his legs, and Maddon talked about his baserunning in his post-game presser.
• Joe Maddon is not worried about his team’s strikeouts. The Cubs are making contact when the situation calls for it according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.
• The Cubs are not the only team that is having a problem with the schedule makers this season.
• Shawon Dunston Jr. returned to High-A Myrtle Beach and went 1-for-3 with a triple and a walk in the Pelicans’ 14-5 loss to Lynchburg.
• The Indians announced Saturday night that Francisco Lindor will be joining the big league team in Detroit on Sunday and make his Major League debut. The Cubs will see two of the top prospects in the game during their first week in the majors. The Twins announced Saturday afternoon OF Byron Buxton had been called up to The Show.
And last, but not least, Kris Bryant extended his current hitting streak to 10 games on Saturday night (3-for-4 with two doubles and three runs scored) and became the first Cubs’ rookie since Bill Madlock in 1974 to have two hitting streaks of at least 10 games.
This Day In Cubstory
2004 – Cubs signed free agent Ricky Gutierrez
1986 – Cubs released Matt Keough
1980 – In an Old-Timers Day reunion, the Tigers of 1945 beat the Cubs of 1945 4-1 in a two-inning ‘replay’ of the ’45 World Series. The Cubs beat the Braves at Wrigley that day 10-5.
1978 – Edgar Gonzalez, born
1978 – Pete Rose collected two hits in a Reds 3-1 victory over the Cubs. Rose started his 44-game hitting streak.
1968 – Cardinals purchased Ramon Hernandez from the Cubs
1960 – Cubs signed Danvars, Mass. High school superstar Danny Murphy to a $130,000 contract, making him the highest paid player of the bonus era to that point. Four days later, the 17-year old started in the outfield at Crosley Field in a 7-1 loss to the Reds. Murphy hit only .120 that year and after three seasons he was sent to the minors. Murphy resurfaced as a pitcher for the White Sox in 1969 and became one of the few players to make the majors as a position player and pitcher.
1959 – Ernie Banks hit the 200th home run of his career off Carlton Willey in the seventh inning. The Cubs beat the Braves, behind Dick Drott, 6-0 at Wrigley Field
1954 – Cubs acquired Hal Rice from the Pirates for Luis Marquez
1953 – Ralph Kiner belted a two-out ninth inning grand slam that tied the game at six in Brooklyn. The game was called due to darkness. Kiner’s slam tied him with Rogers Hornsby for the NL record.
1949 – Ex-Cubs first baseman Eddie Waitkus, with the Phillies at the time, was shot by 19-year old Ruth Steinhagen, who claimed she was in love with Waitkus, at Chicago’s Edgewater Beach Hotel. Waitkus battled for his life and returned to the field the next season.
1943 – Cubs signed free agent John Burrows
1927 – Cubs purchased Wayland Dean from the Phillies
1916 – Cubs released Mickey Doolin
1901 – Cubs executed a triple play off Al Selbach in the fourth inning. Third baseman Fred Raymer to catcher Mike Kahoe to second baseman Clearance Childs to first baseman Charlie Dexter back to Childs and back to Kahoe. The Giants won the game 4-1 at West Side Grounds