Tuesday, March 22, 2011

2011 Cubs preview: The starting pitching

The first pitcher the Cubs will use this year is Ryan Dempster. I'll agree that he's earned it, however because of tradition I would like to see Zambrano in that role again. Hard to expect much other than more of the same from Dempster. A quality pitcher but doesn't stack up to a lot of #1s so his record might not be as good as his stats indicate.

In game 2, Carlos Zambrano will take the hill. I said I'd prefer him in game 1, but pitching game 2 instead will probably help him. Historically, he's had a lot of bad opening day starts. Talent-wise he's probably about a tie with Dempster, but his bat gives the Cubs an extra weapon.

Game 3 goes to the newly acquired Matt Garza. I like it when a pitcher switches leagues. They get what I call an "unfamiliarity bonus." If a hitter hasn't seen much of a pitcher, the advantage goes to the pitcher. What's worrisome is the fly ball tendancies moving to a pitchers park to a hitters park.

Randy Wells is another solid starter, and well above average for a #4. The best way to predict him is to average his first two years, and probably give him a little improvement on that with experience. He's looked very good this Spring.

The #5 starter is still up in the air as outlined in an earlier post. I would love to see Cashner in this role. He's got great breakout potential with his stuff so he's worth trotting out there every 5th game to see if he can put it all together. Worst case, I expect him to be at least ok.

In summary, the pitching is a lot like the hitting, lacking dominance at the top, but very good throughout. That's just fine for the regular season, but it could be a problem in the post season. I guess we'll cross that bridge later.

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