Carlos Silva continued his brilliant pitching, by tossing 7 innings of scoreless ball against the St. Louis Cardinals while striking out a career-high 11 batters in Saturday’s 5-0 win.
Articles on MLB.com and broadcasters on FOX have reported that Silva is the first Cubs pitcher to start the season 7-0 since Jim Weaver in 1934, but this is simply not true; Ken Holtzman finished the 1967 season with a 9-0 record so it’s clear that he was 7-0 at some point. One particular screen capture from MLB.com while Saturday’s game was in progress shows:
I have contacted Cubs’ beat reporter Carrie Muskat and she tried to explain to me that the discrepancy is due to making the distinction between starters and relievers. However, Holtzman started all of his games in 1967 and it was actually Weaver in 1934 who has a relief win.
[Update: Muskat says the Cubs PR now believe that Holtzman in 1967 was the last Cubs pitcher to start a season 7-0.]
Whatever the case may be, Silva’s pitching has been a welcome find for the Cubs. And so with Carlos Zambrano set to return to the rotation soon, it seems highly unlikely that Silva is the odd man out. But then who is?
The common idea seems to be that lefty Tom Gorzelanny will be moved to the bullpen. While this will probably end up being the case, the team should consider leaving Gorzelanny in the rotation. The better move may be to move Randy Wells to the bullpen or to replace Wells on the active roster all together with Andrew Cashner.
I could provide you with the statistical comparison and here it is:
But anyone can spit out numbers.
Much more goes into making a decision like this than just reading off of the stat sheet. An important factor to consider is a disturbing trend that has carried over from last year: when Wells doesn’t have his best stuff, he quits. During Friday’s loss to the Cardinals in which Wells failed to record an out, he never really seemed to make an attempt to slow down the pace of the game to try to re-gather himself or take momentum away from the Cardinals. Rather he kept climbing the mound in his futile attempt to get batters out, as if he was just waiting for his manager to give him the hook.
On the other hand, Gorzelanny has been tasked with pitching against some of the league’s best this year, such as New York’s Johan Santana and Washington’s Livan Hernandez. Though Wells’ stuff might be better than Gorzelanny’s, Gorzelanny has been able to keep his team in the game for the most part. A perfect example of that is Wednesday’s loss to the Dodgers. Despite allowing five runs in the first two innings of the game (two of them directly linked to an error) and a literal power outage at Wrigley Field, Gorzelanny was still able to give his team a chance to win the game. Would Wells have been able to keep his composure amidst the chaos? I doubt it.
Another factor to consider is that the Cubs already have three lefties in the bullpen. If Gorzelanny and Zambrano flip-flop roles, it doesn’t give Lou Piniella many options. The only righty relievers would be closer Carlos Marmol, rookie Jeff Stevens, and aging veteran Bob Howry.
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Written by Eddie Kim