After today’s 6-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, we found out that Dan Straily would be making his Cubs debut on Saturday at Citi Field against the Mets. Straily was acquired from the A’s in the July 4th deal that sent Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland for Straily, Addison Russell, and Billy McKinney. He has been pitching at AAA Iowa, and in 7 games, has pitched well. He has a 3.00 ERA, 3.64 FIP, and a 3.56 SIERA. While with the A’s this season, he had a 4.93 ERA and a 5.66 FIP.
Rick Renteria explained the decision by saying, “We have a stretch of no days off, so we’re going to have Straily come up and give us a start. We’ll push everyone back and give us a breath.”
The urge to connect the dots with Straily coming up after another poor outing from Edwin Jackson is unavoidable, but in this event, it does not seem that the two should be automatically related. The Cubs are in a stretch of three weeks without a day off and the season is winding down to its last month and a half. There is reason to believe that what Renteria said could be taken at face value. Theo Epstein said, in a conference call after the trade, that we would likely see Straily before the season ends. This is an opportune time to get Straily an opportunity to pitch with the major league club.
Looking forward, however, is another story. Straily and Jacob Turner, who made his team debut in 2.1 perfect innings today, are both vying for 2015 rotation spots as this season winds down. Unless Edwin Jackson and/or Travis Wood have strong finishes to the season, their spots are necessarily in jeopardy, as the Cubs look to make a push into contention in 2015. If Straily and Turner out-perform the incumbent options down the stretch, it sets the stage for either Wood, Jackson, or both to lose their spots in the rotation, and possibly the roster over the coming winter.
As it stands, this is one start for one of the new arms in the organization. Alone, it means almost nothing. If he pitches well in multiple outings down the stretch, however, it could spell trouble down the road for the underachieving arms in the rotation.