The Cubs said all throughout spring training that starting pitching would be a strength of the team and that they had depth.
Those points both are debatable, but one thing is clear: When the Cubs get good starting pitching, they win. When they don't, the results can be disastrous.
Right-hander Matt Garza, whom many think is the de facto ace of the staff, turned in a dominant performance Sunday at Philadelphia, shutting out the Phillies on one hit over seven innings in a 5-1 Chicago victory.
It was Garza's fourth quality start in five this season as he improved to 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA.
"He was dominating," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
"I just stuck to the game plan, keep them off balance and try to get pop-ups or ground balls," Garza said. "I was very comfortable out there. I wanted to go after them. They're a very aggressive team."
Here's the deal with Cubs starting pitching: When this 8-14 team gets a quality start, its record is 7-5, and the starters' ERA in those starts is a stingy 1.42. When the Cubs don't get a quality start, the team is 1-9, and the starters have an ERA of 8.94 in those games.
Some good starts this year have been wrecked by either poor offense or a bullpen that implodes. Overall, Cubs starters are 6-9 with an ERA of 4.12.
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