I mean, this seems like the obvious decision, but it’s not like the Cubs have been doing the obvious thing more times than not so far this season. After a 1-5 road trip and 2-8 stretch, the Cubs have 12 games left to jump back into the playoffs through the Wild Card and this week they’ve decided to skip Jameson Taillon’s turn in the starting rotation.
The Cubs announced their starting pitchers for this week’s series against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Taillon, who was scheduled between Javier Assad and Justin Steele, will be skipped. Instead, the Cubs will go with Assad, Steele and then Kyle Hendricks in the series finale on Thursday.
Taillon’s previous start was against the Colorado Rockies last Wednesday, when the Cubs had a 3-0 lead and eventually lost 7-3. Taillon gave up two home runs, five runs total, but only three earned because of an error. Still, Taillon once again just ran out of gas in another start for the Cubs.
In his first season with the Cubs, Taillon has recorded a 5.27 ERA in 138.1 innings. He’s allowed 26 home runs, which ties his highest total that he first set last year with the New York Yankees in 177.1 innings.
I hope this means the Cubs are truly skipping Taillon and they’re not simply switching him and Hendricks. If Taillon doesn’t pitch this week, then the Cubs could get one extra start out of Steele, which would be on the final day of the regular season against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Again, right now we don’t know if it’s truly a skip or if Taillon is simply being pushed back, but I think it’s extremely telling what the Cubs think of the veteran at this point of the season because they could have had Taillon pitch Tuesday and skipped Assad, who has looked a bit worn down in his last two starts.
The Cubs will have next Monday off before a six-game roadtrip to end the regular season.
Now, as much as I would love to see Marcus Stroman take over Taillon’s spot in the rotation to end the season, it doesn’t appear as though the Cubs believe Stroman is capable of doing that just yet. Stroman came back from the injured list on Friday and for the first time in his career he pitched in back-to-back games. So, I doubt the team is ready to insert Stroman into the starting rotation, seeing that he wasn’t given any extra days of rest between his appearances off the IL.
I guess the best-case scenario is that either Assad or Taillon are used as the bulk guys in games and Stroman can be the opener, starting games and then leaving after he reaches a certain pitch count.