Tyler Chatwood’s Disastrous Outing in KC No Cause for Concern

Tyler Chatwood wasn’t very good in the Cubs’ series finale in Kansas City last Thursday, which feels like it was a month ago because they haven’t played since then. Thanks, Cardinals. If you put any stock in FanGraphs game score (GSv2) metric, the -2 mark represents the right-hander’s worst start as a Cub.

Given how many rough outings Chatwood has had in a Cubs uniform, particularly in 2018, that’s really saying something. Now that we’re a few days removed from that clunker and can put things in better perspective, is there any reason to think Chatwood could be trending back towards the version of himself we saw that year?

In short, not really.

As bad as that last start looked in the box score, it wasn’t bad in nearly the same way as his worst starts from two years ago. To illustrate that, let’s check out the pitch charts from Thursday’s start compared to his worst start from 2018, a disaster against the Indians that resulted in a GSv2 of 17.

Pitch chart vs. Cleveland Indians, 5/22/18
Pitch chart vs. Kansas City Royals, 8/6/20

The differences between the visuals from these two starts is striking. While both efforts saw Chatwood give up bunches of runs over just two-ish innings, the roads to those result were dramatically different. Two years ago, Chatwood couldn’t find the zone. Four days ago, he couldn’t miss it.

Looking at a single appearance could be seen as cherry-picking to prove a point, but those no-idea-where-it’s-going efforts were a signature of the veteran’s many rough outings in his inaugural campaign in Chicago. What we saw on Thursday was nothing like that as a combination of bad BABIP luck and a few mistakes unraveled Chatwood’s night. Sometimes you get beat and that’s exactly what happened against the Royals.

There’s no guarantee that Chatwood won’t struggle in other games this season, but we don’t have any evidence to this point to suggest he’s turned back into a pumpkin. For what it’s worth, David Ross doesn’t seem any more concerned than I am.

I’m with Manager David on this one.

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