What’s that? You want an update to the stats of Alec Mills since becoming a member-of-the-rotation in mid-June? I got you: 3.82 ERA over 15 starts and 77.2 innings pitched. And that includes two recent blow-up outings against the Royals (7ER in 4.0 IP) and Pirates (5 ER in 5.2 IP). In other words, most of the time he’s out there, he’s been really good, including his last start against the Reds: 6.0 IP, 4H, 1ER, 1BB, 3Ks.
I especially like to see this trend of more swinging strikes:
Go, Alec Mills, Go Alec Mills, Go.
Whiff rate going up, ERA going down. pic.twitter.com/U5seXqQT2o
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) September 15, 2021
As far as I’m concerned, Mills has earned a spot at the back-end of the 2022 Cubs rotation, regardless of what happens tonight. Yes, I know he has value as a swing starter and I don’t want to lose sight of that, but the Cubs have exactly one rotation spot locked down for next season (Kyle Hendricks).
Sure, there are three other guys fighting for a spot in the rotation (Adbert Alzolay, Justin Steele, Keegan Thompson), each with more rotational upside than Mills, but I don’t think we can definitely count on any to be a sure-fire starter next year. And with so many overall vacancies, I think Mills has done enough to earn one of the jobs. Plus, he’s cheap, he’s still on the right side of 30, he was a Gold Glove finalist last season (which is to say he offers a little extra value with the glove), and he’s found success this season with some marginal improvements against left-handed batters and improved swing-and-miss. The shot is his.
Also, a tip for Mills tonight: Pitch around Bryce Harper. He’s a lefty and he’s been the most dangerous hitter in MLB for a while this season.
Chicago Cubs (66-79) at Philadelphia Phillies (72-72) – Wednesday, September 15th at 6:05 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
Phillies: Ranger Suárez (L)
Cubs: Alec Mills (R)
Chicago Cubs (Lineup Discussion):
1. Matt Duffy, 3B
2. Frank Schwindel, 1B
3. Ian Happ, CF
4. Patrick Wisdom, LF
5. Robinson Chirinos, C
6. Alfonso Rivas, RF
7. David Bote, 2B
8. Sergio Alcántara, SS
9. Alec Mills, P
1. Odubel Herrera, CF
2. Jean Segura, 2B
3. Bryce Harper, RF
4. J.T. Realmuto, 1B
5. Didi Gregorius, SS
6. Andrew McCutchen, LF
7. Fredy Galvis, 3B
8. Andrew Knapp, C
9. Ranger Suárez, P