Scott Feldman keeps rolling as Cubs thump Mets
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org May 18, 2013 8:24PM
Scott Feldman improved to 4-0 with a 1.28 ERA in his last five starts. He began 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA. | Charles Cherney~AP
METS AT CUBS
The facts: 1:20 p.m., Ch. 9, 720-AM.
The starters: Dillon Gee (2-5, 6.13) vs. Travis Wood (4-2, 2.03).
Updated: June 20, 2013 4:45PM
How improbable is it for a team with a sub-.500 record to have one of the best starting rotations in baseball, with the possibility it can get better soon?
That’s the question for the Cubs (18-24), whose starting staff has a 3.47 ERA, a major league-best .226 opposing batting average and 26 quality starts, tied for third in the National League.
Imagine if Matt Garza returns to form quickly when he’s activated from the disabled list this week.
‘‘Potentially, if these guys keep throwing the ball the way they have the first six weeks, and with Garza coming back, once he settles in, it’s got the potential to be one of the top rotations in the big leagues,’’ manager Dale Sveum said.
Scott Feldman (4-3) threw another gem Saturday, keeping the New York Mets scoreless for 62/3 innings in an 8-2 victory at Wrigley Field. It was his fifth consecutive quality start and the seventh consecutive start in which he allowed two earned runs or fewer.
‘‘It’s hard to imagine how good he’s been these last five starts, and the last four have been unbelieveable,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘The low stress and the length [of innings] he’s given, the runs he’s given up, there isn’t a whole lot of opportunity for other teams to score other than solo homers. His last five starts have been as good as anyone in baseball.’’
‘‘My arm feels good,’’ Feldman said. ‘‘Mechanically, everything feels a lot better than it did in spring training.’’
The only runs the Mets scored came in the ninth on Rick Ankiel’s two-run homer off Hector Rondon.
The Cubs scored enough in the fourth off Jeremy Hefner (0-6) for Feldman, who aided his cause with a two-run double in the four-run inning. He has a hit and an RBI in three of his last four games.
‘‘It’s always fun to get a hit and help score some runs,’’ Feldman said. ‘‘I’m sure [opposing pitchers] are happier facing us [pitchers] than [Anthony] Rizzo or [Nate] Schierholtz.’’
Rizzo (10th) and Schierholtz (fifth) hit solo homers to help Feldman, who started 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA but is 4-0 with a 1.28 ERA in his last five starts.
‘‘He’s not letting left-handers beat him,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘His cutter has been incredible, where he’s been able to locate it and keep left-handers from getting [their arms] extended.
‘‘He’s been able to bounce his curveball when he has to and throw it for a strike early in the count. Everything is working.’’
That can be said of the Cubs’ starting staff.
‘‘The rotation has been doing well, and the bullpen’s been doing better,’’ Feldman said. ‘‘Getting Garza back should be a big boost, but at the same time, I feel for [Carlos] Villanueva [who will move to the bullpen] because he’s done everything that he could. I’ve been in that situation, and it’s a tough one.
‘‘But I think everyone is excited to get Garza back. I don’t know who will feed off who — whatever works. Just as long as we can keep doing our jobs and win the games we can and stay healthy and give our team a chance to win.’’