Shutting out the Milwaukee Brewers: The Cubs have five shutouts this year. All five have happened while playing the Brewers. In eight meetings agains the Brewers this year, the Cubs are 7-1, and have given up an average of just one run per game. It’s always sweet to shut out an opponent, but it’s even sweeter when it’s a divisional rival.
The Starting Rotation: Six games this week, six quality starts from the rotation. In 40 innings pitched by the starters, they gave up a total of four earned runs, good for a 0.90 ERA over the week. This included two starts from Tyler Chatwood, and a start from Yu Darvish, proof that he can get past the fifth inning. Tyler Chatwood now leads the Cubs with a 2.83 ERA, by the way.
Brandon Morrow: Morrow made three appearances this week, earning a save in all three. He’s 7-for-7 in save opportunities this year, and he has yet to give up a run. What an excellent signing Morrow has turned out to be to begin the season.
Kyle Schwarber: Schwarber only went 4-for-18 with two walks on the week, but three of those four hits were balls that left the yard. Bonus points for two home runs in one game, and for hitting the game-winning shot in a 1-0 win over the Brewers.
Carl Edwards Jr.: The String Bean Slinger appeared in three games this week, earning a hold in each of his appearances. Edwards has pitched in 13 games this season, and he’s thrown a scoreless inning in all but one of them, with his one run occurring in the first game of the season. Edwards sports an 0.66 ERA, and is striking out batters at a 15.15 K/9 clip, and has walked only five.
Anthony Rizzo: Rizzo continues to struggle at the plate, as he went just 4-for-22 over the week, with all hits being singles. He was hit by two pitches on the week, but he didn’t earn any walks in the process. In addition to his trip to the disabled list, April has been a forgettable month for Rizzo, as his season line sits at .157/.272/.200, good for just 41 wRC+. Look for Rizzo to turn it around in May.
Buy: The starting rotation is beginning to hit its stride: It’s no coincidence that the starting rotation is beginning to pitch better now that the weather is finally beginning to heat up. The Cubs are five games over .500 going into the final day of April, and I think all of us would have taken that at the beginning of the season, especially considering how poor the starting pitching has been. After having just seven quality starts in 19 games to begin the season, the Cubs have strung together six in a row.
Sell: The starting pitching woes are behind us: The Major League Baseball season is looooong. There will be more clunkers. There will be times where the pitcher can’t get out of the fifth inning. These things are bound to happen over a 162-game schedule. Just remember, these Cubs starting pitchers are an incredibly talented bunch, even if they lay an egg every now and then.
Buy: Tyler Chatwood is the real deal. As noted above, Chatwood leads the Cubs with a 2.83 ERA. Raise your hand if you thought that would be the case after the first month. He’s still averaging nearly seven walks per nine innings, but he’s managing to keep the runs at a minimum. Like Morrow, Chatwood has been an excellent signing one month into his tenure.
Sell: Tyler Chatwood will be able to keep this up. Chatwood can’t continue to walk as many guys as he does, as the free passes will surely catch up to him at some point. His ground ball dominant repertoire helps him get out of the many sticky situations that he find himself in, but soon enough, the walks will burn him. If he can limit the number of walks he gives up, Chatwood has the potential to be one of the top pitchers on this team.