With last night’s game against the Phillies rained out, and with now two doubleheaders on the schedule for the next five days – the second of which comes against the Pirates – the Cubs are changing up the rotation a bit (Cubs.com).
Jake Arrieta will go today, as will Kyle Hendricks, as planned. Dan Haren will then start on Saturday, also as planned. But Sunday’s starter, Jason Hammel, will be shifted to Tuesday, starting one of the legs of the doubleheader in Pittsburgh. That means the Cubs will be able to go with Hammel and Jon Lester in that doubleheader, rather than having to bring in a fill-in starter against the Pirates
But the fill-in starter has to go somewhere, and it’s going to be the Sunday finale against the Phillies, vacated by the move of Hammel. Joe Maddon suggested that it could be a “bullpen day,” which means you’d see someone like Tsuyoshi Wada and/or Clayton Richard and/or Travis Wood going for two or three innings before yielding to someone else in that group. It can be effective because of the match-up problems it presents, but it also taxes the bullpen heavily, especially in a stretch where the Cubs will be playing six games in five days, and then don’t have another off-day until nine days after that.
Of course, the Cubs are playing with a 13(!)-man bullpen right now, so there are more than enough arms to go around. The question, though, is whether there are enough trustworthy, effective arms to go around.