It wasn’t but a week ago that Sean Marshall officially claimed the fifth starter spot in the Cubs rotation, but after back-to-back poor outings, his claim seems a little less certain.
Manager Lou Piniella seemed a little concerned about Marshall’s poor finish to an otherwise successful spring.
“The last two starts for Marshall have been… not good,” Piniella said. “So he needs a good start on Sunday. But all in all, we’re where we want to be, except for what happens in the bullpen.” Hardball.
Needs a good start on Sunday? Yikes. Don’t care for that phrasing from Lou.
Marshall’s tenuous hold on the fifth spot is particularly concerning given recent developments. What once looked to be a team with almost too many ML-calibre starting pitchers, the Cubs now have stated untested youngster Mitch Atkins may be the “sixth starter.”
The Cubs have identified prospect Mitch Atkins as the potential sixth starter in waiting at Class AAA Iowa, and they’re considering adding Atkins to the traveling squad this weekend to get him experience pitching at a loud, packed Yankee Stadium. Sun Times.
I have nothing against Atkins – he was absolutely dominant last year. In the minors.
Chad Gaudin no longer looks like a viable option, but what about Aaron Heilman and Jeff Samardzija? Samardzija in particular will probably make more sense than Atkins assuming the Shark is also starting in AAA Iowa.
Compounding the problem is the fact that Rich Harden has also struggled.
Regardless, no replacement option looks quite as attractive as an effective Marshall. Further, if the replacement comes from the bullpen, the harm done is felt in both the rotation and the bullpen.