Chicago Cubs' No. 4 and No. 5 Starters Will Be a Revolving Door
Major league baseball teams able to field five high-performing starters in a rotation are in the midst of luxury.
With the dearth of pitching talent in the majors these days, most teams have an ace, solid No.2 and No.3, and then a substantial drop-off occurs in the last two spots in the rotation.
The 2011 Chicago Cubs' pitching rotation certainly isn't an exception.
While Cactus League performances have defined the roles of the Cubs top three starters Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, and Matt Garza, it has not done the same for the bottom of this summer's rotation.
After the top three, it is really anyone's guess who will take the rubber at Wrigley.
Any combination of Randy Wells, Carlos Silva, Andrew Cashner, Casey Coleman, Braden Looper and Jeff Szamardija could see starts in the lower half of the rotation.
Given their respective Cactus League stats, it would be reasonable to assume that Randy Wells has a lock on the No. 4 spot and the competition is still open for the No. 5 slot.
It would be extremely disapointing not only to Cubs brass, but to fans as well, if Carlos Silva did not pitch better than he has so far this spring.
Silva's earned runs average has hovered around 15 in Arizona and he has struggled with control and consistency, often posting short outings.
If Silva ends up being demoted to the bullpen, or released all together (which is still a small possibllity ), the rotation picture becomes even more murky.
One thing is for certain, if the Cubs are to be competitive in the NL Central this summer there must be contributions from the lower half of the rotation, especially given that several NL teams are five strong.
If the No.4 and No. 5 slots become a rotating door, Cubs losses are sure to follow.