All latest indications show the Cubs with a dominant rotation and a questionable bullpen. However, as we all know these things get shuffled around in the playoffs. Take the example of Jason Marquis, who found his services as a league average starting pitcher were not as valuable as the last man in the bullpen when the postseason begins. The Cubs seem to have delivered a gem with the callup of Randy Wells, and suddenly can field a rotation of 6 plus starting pitchers in Zambrano, Dempster, Lilly, Harden, Wells, and Marshall. Playoff teams only slate four starters, and can get by with just three in the later rounds. This brings me to the question at hand: What would the Cubs do with their bullpen in the playoffs?
My take as of June 8th: Zambrano, Harden, Dempster, Lilly should form the rotation, going in that order. Wells and Marshall have to play a significant role in the pen in some capacity. Whether you groom them to go one inning or two, I would think the Cubs will be able to put more trust in these two than the likes of Heilman, Patton, or Cotts. Recently Angel Guzman has held down the pen during all the strife, and suddenly Jose Asciano has emerged with impressive outings. Are they for real? Is Waddell here to stay? Can Marmol and Gregg ever be trusted again to close out a tight game?
All in all I think the Cubs pitching staff is primed to be very dangerous in the playoffs, if the coaches can find everyone's proper niche. And I think a major element of all this will be having Marshall and Wells ready to come in out of the bullpen in terms of both mindset and conditioning. Will the Cubs pitching staff be ready for the changing roles if they should survive to see postseason play?