Whoa: Cubs Not Ruling Out Six-Man Rotation When Matt Garza Returns

matt garza shockedWhat do you do when a big-time starting pitcher returns from the disabled list, and you’ve got a rotation of five good starting pitchers, each of whom has a very good case for staying in the rotation (be it performance, long-term role, or trade value)?

Well, the obvious answer isn’t so obvious in baseball, because six-man rotations aren’t really used for a variety of reasons. When folks have suggested it in the comments, my response has largely been, “Yeah, this is one of those situations where it’s as close of a call as it comes for using six, but I still don’t think they’ll do it.”

I could be wrong. Today, Dale Sveum told reporters that the Cubs might use a six-man rotation when Matt Garza returns from the disabled list, which could happen as soon as five days from Thursday. That is to say, the Cubs haven’t formally ruled it out, apparently, even if they also haven’t discussed it extensively.

Garza has at least one more rehab start left, on Thursday with AAA Iowa, but he could be ready to rejoin the rotation for his next start. That has put the Cubs in something of a good bind, what with Jeff Samardzija and Edwin Jackson seemingly un-bump-able from the rotation, given their track records, and each of Travis Wood, Scott Feldman, and Carlos Villanueva pitching extremely well to start the season. The prevailing wisdom was that the Cubs would bump Villanueva to the pen, since he’s been in a swing role before, he’s cooled a bit in his last few starts, and the move would likely be temporary.

Surely it’s better to inconvenience one starter a great deal than to inconvenience six starters a little bit, right? But maybe the “little” inconvenience is so little that it doesn’t really matter?

I’m going to let this play out a little bit before reacting too strongly (not that I necessarily have a strong reaction either way), as Sveum may have just been shooting the breeze. My gut says I don’t like it, mostly because there are only so many starts to go around before the Trade Deadline, and I’d rather the Cubs focused those few starts on getting the right guys the ball. It also really puts a squeeze on the roster, because it’s one less arm available in the bullpen, or one less player available on the bench.

On the other hand, who knows? Maybe the extra day of rest for everyone enhances the starters’ individual performances, and the Cubs either succeed wildly over this six-man stretch because the pitching is crazy good, or at least the individuals with trade value outperform what they would have done without extra rest.

I suspect we don’t actually see a six-man rotation, and, if we do, it would just be for a couple weeks while things sort themselves out. Either way, it’s nothing to get worked up about. It sure is a fun discussion piece, though.

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

more cubs news

Enhanced Box Score: Cardinals 7, Cubs 6 – May 25, 2024

After blowing the lead in the 8th, the Cubs tried to put together their own comeback in the 9th, but that Christopher Morel bouncer just didn't find the right spot. Worst fake rally ever. The Cubs were in that spot,...

Chicago Cubs Lineup: Versus Miles Mikolas

CUBS LINEUP — The first Cubs-Cardinals game of the season was banged on account of rain last night, which is a bummer, because it was Shota Imanaga night. The Cubs are using the unexpected night off to buy Imanaga some...

Could Red-Hot Blue Jays Catcher Danny Jansen Be a Cubs Trade Target?

For as clutch as Yan Gomes was at the plate last season, his offense output this year has been nothing short of brutal: .174/.183/.275 (26 wRC+). He can still call a game as well as anyone, but that's a blackhole...

Slight Rotation Shuffle, Smyly Coming, Big Night in Iowa, and Other Cubs Bullets

The Cardinals are cowards and they were afraid of Shōta Imanaga. It's the only explanation for last night's delay and then postponement. The only explanation. OK, I mean, I guess weather is also possibly an explanation, but who really believes...

They Tried to Hit PCA On Pitch #1 and #2 … SO HE HOMERED ON PITCH #3

This is just so incredible. Since being sent back down to Triple-A Iowa, the Cubs top prospect, Pete Crow-Armstrong, has made an absolute mockery of the league. In his first game back, he went 2-5 with a homer. In his...

Pre-Gamin’: Cubs at Cardinals – Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread (POSTPONED)

The game has been banged. It will be made up a month from now (instead of tomorrow, for some reason). https://twitter.com/dgoold/status/1794181927660073067 CUBS LINEUP — The Cubs have their ace, Shota Imanaga, on the mound against a sub-.500 team, who's starting...

Jordan Wicks Making a Rehab Start Tonight at Iowa

[ankin_law] Another pitcher on the mend, and getting closer to a return to the big league team. Jordan Wicks has been out since April 23 with a forearm strain, and the Cubs have quite wisely been careful bringing back one...

Oh Hey Look, ANOTHER Minor League Pitching Signing for the Cubs

That's right. ANOTHER one. Thus, I have to start with the same intro: The Chicago Cubs are seriously going off on the minor league pitching signings here after the start of the season. Sure, you sometimes see one, but this...

Something the Cubs Have Quietly Been Able to Pull Off with Respect to Shota Imanaga

I won't bore you with the same spiel about how Shota Imanaga is pitching like the best starting pitcher in baseball right now. You already know it in your heart and soul. (Although, it's never actually boring.) Instead, I simply...

MLBits: Phillies Historic Stretch, Skenes Dominant Even Without His Best, Manfred on Robo Umps, More

The Philadelphia Phillies are the hottest team in baseball, winning 29 of their last 35 games, their best 35-game stretch since Grover Cleveland won the 1982 presidential election—that and more in today's MLB Notes. The Red-Hot Phillies Continue to Their...

Latest News

Oilers vs. Stars Stanley Cup Semifinals Game 3 Prediction: Odds, Picks, Best Bets – Monday, May 27, 2024

The Edmonton Oilers are -125 favorites over the Dallas Stars (+105) playing on home ice on Monday at Rogers Place in Edmonton.Watch the NHL on Fubo!Oilers vs. Stars Favorite, Moneyline, TotalFavorite: Oilers (-125)Underdog: Stars (+105)Total: 5.5Best Oilers vs. Stars Promo...

Indy 500 Odds and Picks: Will Penske Power through the field at Indianapolis Motor Speedway?

The "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" is upon us! The 2024 Indy 500 roars to life tomorrow, with a field of hungry drivers vying for checkered flag glory. But before the engines fire up, let's take a look at the Indy...

Enhanced Box Score: Cardinals 7, Cubs 6 – May 25, 2024

After blowing the lead in the 8th, the Cubs tried to put together their own comeback in the 9th, but that Christopher Morel bouncer just didn't find the right spot. Worst fake rally ever. The Cubs were in that spot,...

NHL Playoffs Anytime Goalscorer Bets and Odds Today – May 26

We have just the one Stanley Cup Playoffs Semifinals game on the slate Sunday, and anytime goal-scorer odds for players from each team are listed in this article.Watch the NHL on Fubo!Today's Top Anytime Goal OddsSam Reinhart (Panthers) +125 to...

Cardinals vs. Cubs: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

The St. Louis Cardinals (24-26), led by Brendan Donovan and aiming for a series sweep, host the Chicago Cubs (27-25) at 7:10 PM ET on Sunday.The article below will give you everything you need to watch St. Louis play Chicago.When...

Astros vs. Athletics: Free Live Stream, TV Channel, How to Watch

Kyle Tucker and the Houston Astros (23-29) visit JJ Bleday and the Oakland Athletics (22-32) on Sunday, with first pitch at 4:07 PM ET.Find out how to watch the Houston-Oakland matchup below.When is Astros vs. Athletics and when does it...

T.J. McConnell Player Props: Three-Pointer Props and Odds vs. the Celtics – Conference Finals Game 3, Saturday, May 25, 2024

At 8:30 PM ET on Saturday, in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, it'll be the Indiana Pacers against the Boston Celtics -- with T.J. McConnell needing to connect only once from beyond the arc to beat his 3-pointer...

How to Watch Guardians vs. Angels: Live Stream or on TV

The Cleveland Guardians (34-17), with Ben Lively on the mound and trying to sweep the series, visit the Los Angeles Angels (20-31) who will hand the ball to Reid Detmers, at 4:07 PM ET on Sunday.If you're planning on watching...

Padres vs. Yankees: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

Going for a series sweep, Juan Soto and the New York Yankees (36-17) play the San Diego Padres (27-27) on Sunday at PETCO Park, with first pitch scheduled for 4:10 PM ET.If you're planning on watching this game, keep reading...

Orioles vs. White Sox: Free Live Stream, TV Channel, How to Watch

On Sunday, trying to complete a series sweep, Kyle Bradish starts for the Baltimore Orioles (32-18) against Garrett Crochet and the Chicago White Sox (15-38), with first pitch scheduled for 2:10 PM ET.Keep reading to see how to watch the...

more cubs news