Cubs’ Villanueva may be odd man out after 9-4 loss
By GORDON WITTENMYER email@example.com May 14, 2013 10:19PM
CHICAGO, IL- MAY 14: Starting pitcher Carlos Villanueva #33 of the Chicago Cubs stands on the mound as Carlos Gonzalez #5 of the Colorado Rockies rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the third inning on May 14, 2013 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)
Updated: May 14, 2013 10:51PM
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said before Tuesday’s 9-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies that he wasn’t running “tryout camps” for his starting pitchers as the Cubs near decision time on which starter gets bumped out for the imminent return of Matt Garza.
Maybe that’s because Carlos Villanueva already was the likely odd man out by virtue of his wealth of experience as a valuable bullpen pitcher – along with the relative commitments to the four other pitchers now in the rotation.
And if it was a tryout situation? Villanueva (1-3) wouldn’t figure to make the cut after his worst outing of the season Tuesday, getting pounded for seven runs on 12 hits, including a pair of home runs, in just five innings.
The Cubs’ rotation had the third-ranked ERA in the National League (3.40) going into the night.
“The guys are doing great,” said Garza (lat strain), who makes what could be his final minor-league rehab start Thursday for AAA Iowa. “That’s definitely something that I’ve got to really step into and gear up for.”
Tough call on who gets bumped for him?
“Well, I guess that’s the best problem to have,” Garza said, “because I want to pitch. I’m not getting ready for no reason. … I’m just excited to come back.”
Villanueva already was going through a rough stretch after four exceptional outings to start the season. He had a 1.53 ERA through those four starts – but he’s 0-3 with a 6.94 ERA since.
The loss snapped the Cubs’ season-high three-game winning streak.