Even though the Cubs entire five-man rotation (Hendricks, Stroman, Miley, Steele, Smyly) is healthy at the moment, Keegan Thompson is getting another start this weekend – his third of the season – against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.
Cubs announce Keegan Thompson will start Saturday’s game against the White Sox.
— Maddie Lee (@maddie_m_lee) May 26, 2022
Thompson, 27, has been one of the best multi-inning relievers in baseball this season, but still has the potential to join the rotation long-term. And with an off-day tomorrow but double-headers on Monday and next Saturday, the Cubs are taking the opportunity to restructure their rotation, possibly moving to a six-man(?) swing through the next couple of weeks.
At one point, all signs pointed to Caleb Kilian, the Cubs top pitching prospect at Triple-A Iowa, coming up to make one or both of the double-header starts, but David Ross squashed that idea earlier today. So I’m not entirely sure of the full plan just yet – including whom the Cubs will call up as the 27th man for either double-header – but if they have an extra “starter” (Thompson) in the mix, they could coordinate without Kilian.
Thompson has made two starts for the Cubs so far this season, first going 4.0 innings with 5 hits, 2 walks, and 2 earned runs against the Padres in San Diego and then lasting 5.0 scoreless innings against the Pirates at Wrigley Field (4H, no walks, 5Ks). He’s also gone *at least* 2.2 innings in every other appearance this year, and has a 1.54 ERA overall.
I’m willing to bet the Cubs will move him into the rotation full-time after the trade deadline this year, but until then we may see only the occasional start as needed. Thompson last pitched on May 22, so he should be well rested and ready to go this Saturday.
For what it’s worth, the Sox have been the third worst offense against right-handed pitching this season (83 wRC+).