The state of the Cubs’ pitching staff is quite flux-y, what with a number of pitchers injured, a schedule mucked up by rain, a baby on the way, a pitcher out on bereavement, and more.
Updates from a couple guys you should be following on Twitter:
No change in Cubs pitching plans. Weekend in a holding pattern. Farrell still likely to start tomorrow unless needed tonight. Chatwood on baby watch. If still w the team, he’s likely for Sunday and Montgomery Monday. Darvish bullpen today, Edwards on flat ground again.
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) June 22, 2018
Duensing on his way to Cincy & if he gets here in time (which is expected) he'll be activated before tonight's game. Darvish is throwing a pen and if he comes out of that well, Monday is a target date for a rehab start. Edwards throwing off flat ground, could go off mound Sunday.
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) June 22, 2018
So, then, we’ll see a roster move before tonight’s game, with Brian Duensing back in there and one of the rotating AAA relievers being sent back down (presumably a lefty like Rob Zastryzny or Randy Rosario, but not necessarily).
I love seeing that update on Carl Edwards Jr., because once he gets back on the mound, it’s conceivable he could be ready to return to the bullpen soon thereafter without a rehab stint. That’s not a guarantee, but if his shoulder feels good and he lets it fly off the mound, a rehab outing might not be necessary.
As for Yu Darvish, that sounds both good and expected (on our optimistic timeline, anyway). There’s still a chance he’ll be back in plenty of time for a start or two before the All-Star break.
As for the starters this weekend … what a mess. The fact that Tyler Chatwood and Mike Montgomery both had to throw on the same day is really causing a problem when combined with the arrival of Chatwood’s kiddo (which, on its own, is of course a blessing and the most important thing). That’s why the Cubs are hoping Chatwood can go on Sunday, so that Montgomery can then go on Monday. But if Chatwood is out, and Montgomery has to go on Sunday, the Cubs won’t get the benefit of an extra day of rest for Montgomery and everyone else in the rotation, despite having to use a bullpen day on Saturday. (Though, depending on when Chatwood gets slotted back in, one or two of the starters might wind up getting an extra day.)
If you don’t see Farrell in the game tonight, you’ll know he’s highly likely to get the start tomorrow, and maybe throw three or four innings if he’s cruising. It’s far from ideal to have to use the bullpen in that way, especially in the middle of a long stretch with no off-days, but the Cubs appear to prefer not calling up a starter from AAA.
Regardless of anything above, the Cubs would benefit greatly from a long Jose Quintana start tonight. He’s had trouble with the third time through the order this year, though. Fingers crossed.
UPDATE: The Duensing return is official, and it’s Justin Hancock being optioned back to Iowa this time around.