MESA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio gave some insight into the team’s thinking regarding its starting staff for the beginning of the regular season, which starts two weeks from Monday in Pittsburgh.
“History tells us the last couple of years our starters have not done well on the sixth or seventh day so we’ll take that into account,” Bosio said on Sunday.
That sounds like the Cubs will try to keep their starters throwing every fifth day as much as possible. With three off-days in the first 15, that won’t always be the case. Jeff Samardzija will pitch opening day on March 31 and if he stays on schedule his next game would come on April 5 at Wrigley Field against the Philadelphia Phillies. Everyone else would get an extra day between starts as April 1 and April 7 are off-days. It means a fifth starter would be necessary on April 6 and April 12.
“I’ll have a couple plans of attack to give to Rick (Renteria), Jed (Hoyer) and Theo (Epstein) and we’ll plan accordingly,” Bosio said.
Bosio praised Carlos Villanueva's results as a starter early last season, indicating he could be that fifth guy considering Jake Arrieta will miss the beginning of the season. Chris Rusin is in the mix as is James McDonald, though the latter has struggled in spring so far.
Bosio high on prospects: The Cubs sent some of their top starting prospects to minor league camp over the last few days but that doesn’t mean they won’t be back in the near future.
“I told those guys when we sent them out,” Bosio explained, “‘I don’t look at it as we’re sending you out, I look at it like you guys are getting ready to come back.’”
Bosio was specifically talking about Eric Jokisch and Kyle Hendricks as both were impressive this spring.
“We’re looking 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15,” Bosios said about pitching depth. “The only thing that’s different from the minor leagues to the major leagues is the speed of the game. Once those guys figured out the speed of the game they were able to go out there and control their emotions.”
Combined, Jokisch and Hendricks threw 14 innings this spring, giving up eight hits and three runs while striking out 15.
Bosio on Arodys Vizcaino: “Still going slower because of the surgery. ... We’re going to have to put the reins on him. He likes to throw.”
Bosio on getting the veteran starters ready the rest of spring: “Get their pitch counts up and get (or keep) them healthy.”
Bosio on Samardzija’s Saturday performance: “He was jumping out a little bit. Overthrowing the cutter. ... I know it will be there on opening day for him.”