Year in and year out you can usually find linkage between outstanding starting pitching and success in the standings. So far the Cubs have managed to defy those projections. Led by Villanueva(1.29), Wood (2.08) and Samardzija (3.38) the Cub starters have the fourth best ERA in Major League Baseball. They have held opposing batters to a MLB low .208 batting average and a also lead in opponent OPS (on base plus slugging)at .619. For context, there are only seven qualifying NL hitters with an OPS below .620.
The top 7 teams in starters ERA are:
St. Louis 2.55
Red Sox 2.62
Five of those clubs are currently division leaders, the Cardinals are a half game out and you know where the Cubs reside in the standings. How can this be?
Well there have been a MLB high 14 unearned runs scored against Cubs starters and the run support for the rotation is .39 runs per game, which is tied for next to last in the game. What does this all mean besides an opportunity to invoke the great Freddie Fender? It means the Cubs have wasted a lot of really good starts. Despite all that good work, the rotation is 3-10. The good news? If they are able to pitch near this level, things have to get better……don’t they?