Cubs’ Weekend Starters Still TBD, Farrell a Possibility for Saturday
The weather and Tyler Chatwood‘s unborn baby may determine what the Cubs do for starting pitchers this weekend in Cincinnati. Not only did the rain (and faulty power) compress their series with the Dodgers, but a murky forecast for the next several days makes it impossible for Joe Maddon to see the lineup card two days in front of his face.
Jose Quintana will start Friday’s game and Jon Lester is the presumed starter for Monday’s series opener in LA. Either Chatwood or Mike Montgomery could go Sunday on regular rest, but the former’s wife is expecting a child any day now and he is maybe not the best bet to get the start. Of course, that still leaves Saturday up in the air.
Luke Farrell is a popular assumption to take the bump at this point, though Maddon won’t be afraid to use the righty in relief prior to that should the situation dictate it. Farrell has thrown more than one inning in six of his 12 appearances with the Cubs, including five unlikely frames in a marathon against the Mets on June 2.
Unless he repeats that effort Saturday, the Cubs are going to have to lean heavily on the bullpen to finish the game. And they’ll still have eight more games in as many days after that, which means a likely demotion for Farrell and/or some of the other guys who appear against the Reds.
Chatwood going on paternity leave would free up a roster spot and allow the Cubs to call up another warm body, though it probably won’t be a starter type. Jen-Ho Tseng, who came up to make a brief start against Miami back on May 8, isn’t an option after starting for Iowa Thursday night. Duane Underwood Jr. is probably out of contention as well after pitching Tuesday for the I-Cubs.
Righty Alec Mills is lined up to start Saturday for Iowa in one of the halves of their scheduled double-header, so he could get his first cup of coffee since throwing 3.1 innings for the Royals in 2016. And let’s not forget Rob Zastryzny, who has pitched at least two innings 11 times at AAA this season. He could be a casualty of Brian Duensing‘s return from the bereavement list Friday, but Chatwood’s potential absence would leave that spot open.
Finally, there’s the chance that Friday’s game gets banged. As of press time, there’s a 90 percent chance of thunderstorms in the Cincy area through late afternoon. That is expected to fade to scattered storms and then to a partly cloudy late evening, but more rain is anticipated Saturday morning and throughout Sunday as well.
All things considered, this is going to turn into a matter of all hands on deck and the Cubs are going to need their regular starters to keep going deep to save the ‘pen. And just as I was about to type “Good thing it’s just the Reds,” Kyle Hendricks walked in a run and was replaced by Randy Rosario, who promptly gave up a grand slam.