There is just no excuse for what David Ross did during Monday night’s game, when it seemed like he was doing everything he could to give the Colorado Rockies a win. Ross has to change his circle of trust in the bullpen now or it’s going to cost him down the line against better teams as the Cubs are fighting to maintain a playoff spot.
You only needed one working eye to see that José Cuas had nothing against the Rockies in the seventh inning. He was able to get the first two outs in the seventh inning, but then gave up a single, hit a batter, a double and another single before Ross finally came in to replace Cuas with Drew Smyly.
Yes, Cuas has put up good results since the Cubs acquired him at the trade deadline from the Kansas City Royals, posting a 1.17 ERA through his first 17 appearances. That’s only 2 earned runs in 15.1 innings. However, within those good results, the Cubs have also seen Cuas struggle finding the strike zone and before Monday’s outing, Cuas had more walks than strikeouts (12BB/10K) plus two hit batters on his stat sheet.
I’ll get to the bigger point, but Monday alone was another brutal call from Ross. When Cuas has looked great, he’s done it behind a nasty sweeping slider. Cuas threw 31 pitches, 1 was a sweeper. It was so obvious that he didn’t have confidence in his sweeper and had to rely on his other stuff that was hit hard. No idea why Ross kept him in after the double that made it 3-2, which ended up with the Cubs down 4-3 after the next hitter singled home two more runs against Cuas.
Moving forward, Ross cannot rely on Cuas in close games. I know Monday’s bullpen situation wasn’t great, as Julian Merryweather wasn’t available after pitching in three straight games and Adbert Alzolay was placed on the injured list. Plus, a few of the other relief options have been shaky as of late, too, like rookie Daniel Palencia. But you know what, I hope that from now on, Smyly will be higher up on the depth chart.
Smyly’s been ousted from the starting rotation, but since he’s been moved to the bullpen, the veteran lefty has been great. Smyly got the win Monday, pitching 1.2 scoreless innings after replacing Cuas. Since Aug. 13, Smyly has made 8 relief outings and he’s only allowed two runs, while striking out 15 batters and walking just three. Give me the guy who has consistently thrown strikes instead of the guy who has mostly gotten away with his bad control and doesn’t have much of a track record in his career like Cuas.
Also, I know his walk issues can be concerning in Coors Field, but how about giving Luke Little a shot. This dude has MLB stuff and is great against lefties and righties.
Maybe Cuas will develop into a guy who you can trust throughout the season in close games, but he’s not there yet. There are other guys in the bullpen that should be given those chances and seeing that Smyly did go multiple innings late, he probably will be handed the ball in close games more often down the stretch.