One of the biggest storylines for the Chicago Cubs entering the MLB All-Star Break was the poor starting pitching and specifically, John Lackey’s struggles.
The veteran gave up 24 home runs in the first half, leading all starters in baseball. But something clicked for him as the Cubs came out of the break hot.
Lackey returned from the DL to make his first start after the break against the Atlanta Braves. Despite giving up a second inning home run, he got the win. The Cubs won their first six out of the All-Star Break to regain the lead in the NL Central.
They’ve struggled recently, losing three-straight series but overall the starting pitching including Lackey has been damn good.
Since the break, Lackey has been fantastic as the Cubs have won every start he’s pitched in with the most recent being Friday in Arizona:
#Cubs July 1-present
6-0 in John Lackey starts
14-14 in starts by anyone else
— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) August 12, 2017
As you see in the stat above, the Cubs are just 14-14 in starts by any other pitcher. That doesn’t mean the starters haven’t pitched well.
Jake Arrieta had a solid outing against the Diamondbacks just over a week ago giving up only two earned runs but the Cubs failed to score. The next day the Cubs bullpen couldn’t hold on to the lead late, allowing Arizona to take the series.
The bullpen blew a 4-1 lead against Washington on Sunday after Jon Lester left the game in the seventh. Lester was credited with the two runs given up in the seventh inning, but it was a Matt Wieters grand slam in the eighth off Carl Edward’s Jr. that did the Cubs in.
If Chicago’s starters can keep it up, they can make a serious run into October. It’s just the bullpen that is having issues that are a cause for concern.