Maddon: 6-Man Rotation Is In Cubs' Best Interest

Top pitching prospect Adbert Alzolay has been inserted into the Cubs' rotation.

Bruce Levine
June 24, 2019 - 9:46 am
Cubs manager Joe Maddon

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA Today Sports

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CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- The Cubs have drawn up a plan that they hope can keep their veteran pitchers fresh and in line for a strong second half, as they'll move forward with a six-man rotation for the time being.

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Top pitching prospect Adbert Alzolay will start against the Braves at Wrigley Field on Tuesday, as the Cubs also chose to keep right-hander Tyler Chatwood in the rotation as well. Chatwood will start against the Braves on Thursday. 

"I like it before the break and after the break," manager Joe Maddon said Sunday. "Meaning you have the people you like to do it with. That is certainly been a part of the discussion. When we are ready to reveal it, we will, but we have discussed that."

Maddon's words were a reference to the Cubs using a six-man rotation potentially for two turns. The Cubs don't have an off day until July 5. They then play the White Sox twice before the All-Star break begins July 8.

The Cubs have moved to a six-man rotation as right-hander Kyle Hendricks remains on the injured list with an impingement in his throwing shoulder. He's expected to be out until the All-Star break, and the Cubs piggybacked Chatwood's start last Thursday by using Alzolay in relief behind him.

"Alzolay pitching as well as he had and Chatwood also permits you to think different ways," Maddon said.

The Cubs have used a six-man rotation here and there over the past few seasons, with left-hander Mike Montgomery often a part of the extended group. In any case, moving to a six-man rotation means Maddon and the Cubs would then have to work with a seven-man bullpen.

There are many moving parts for the Cubs these days, as closer Craig Kimbrel is nearing top form at Triple-A Iowa and should be added to the 25-man roster soon. Reliever Carl Edwards Jr. (left thoracic strain) could be due off the injured list soon as well. 

If Chatwood stays in the rotation, that likely means recently promoted reliever Tony Barnette will need to be the team's long man, as Montgomery and Kyle Ryan are the lefties in the bullpen whom the Cubs need to use to match up strategically against opposing teams.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.