The Chicago Cubs might be having some problems figuring out who will be at the back end of their rotation this summer. However, the top of rotation is looking plenty sharp heading into next Monday’s season opener. On Wednesday, Jeff Samardzija pitched a gem for the Cubs in his final spring warmup.
The man better known as “Shark” went three innings, allowing just four hits, one run and striking out two. Had Chris Rusin not completely imploded in a relief role, it’s entirely possible that Chicago would have won that contest.
Thursday afternoon, it was time for No. 2 starter Travis Wood to get his final tuneup before the regular season begins. Wood looked even more dominant than Samardzija. Wood also went three innings for the Cubs, allowing just two hits and a walk while striking out four. He also didn’t allow a run to score.
Wood’s performance for Chicago was especially heartening because he hadn’t been having all that fantastic a spring for the Cubs up until today. The three scoreless innings actually lowered the lefty’s ERA to a still rather ugly 4.61.
Shark was not throwing all that well for Chicago either before Wednesday’s outing. Of course, Spring stats don’t count for anything, and it’s possible both top of the rotation starters were just trying out new things and taking it a bit easy throughout the preseason.
What matters most is that two pitchers that the Cubs are going to rely on quite a bit in 2014 both looked plenty sharp when push came to shove. If Chicago wants to have any chance to stay out of the cellar of the NL Central, they are going to have to rely on these two pitchers.
If they can both improve on somewhat successful 2013 seasons, the Cubs couldn’t even surprise some people along the way.