CHICAGO — As the Chicago Cubs work toward establishing more consistency in what has been a sluggish start, manager Joe Maddon firmly believes its just a matter of time before his starting rotation finds its footing.
Cubs starters have routinely put pressure on the bullpen by struggling to work deep into games. But as the Cubs welcome their National League Central rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals, to Wrigley Field for a three-game series starting Monday, Maddon is remaining patient.
Tyler Chatwood will start Monday against the Cardinals after his scheduled start Sunday against Atlanta was postponed because of inclement weather. Chatwood (0-2, 4.91 ERA) is seeking his first win with the Cubs after he dropped his first two outings against the Cincinnati Reds and the Milwaukee Brewers.
Chatwood, who won 20 games in the past two seasons with the Colorado Rockies, signed a three-year, $38 million contract with the Cubs in the offseason. Chatwood is 0-2 in four career appearances (one start) against St. Louis.
Chatwood has pitched at least five innings in his first two starts. On Monday, he hopes to improve on the effort of fellow starter Jose Quintana, who allowed seven runs in 2 1/3 innings in Saturdays 14-10, come-from-behind victory over the Braves.
“We havent gotten any depth (from starters),” Maddon said Saturday. “Were surviving it, and I look at that as a positive because theyre so good and theyre going to turn it on and theyre going to get on a nice little roll.”
The Cubs are also expected to welcome All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo back from the 10-day disabled list. Rizzo has been out with back tightness, but Maddon said twice over the weekend that he expects Rizzo to be healthy enough to play starting Monday.
The Cardinals, who will enter this weeks series fresh off a four-game sweep of Cincinnati after Sundays 3-2 victory, also expect to get healthier as they face the Cubs.
Infielder Jedd Gyorko and reliever Luke Gregerson could rejoin the Cardinals this week, manager Mike Matheny told reporters on Saturday.
Gyorko has been out with a right hamstring strain and has been playing in extended spring training games in Florida. Gregerson suffered a strained left hamstring in the final week of spring training and made his fourth minor league rehabilitation appearance April 13, according to MLB.com.
“Were still figuring out the exact details, but (Gyorko) might be back here sooner rather than later,” Matheny told reporters Saturday.
Adam Wainwright (0-2, 5.06 ERA) will start for the Cardinals. He is coming off a strong seven-inning effort in which he struck out four and didnt allow a walk while scattering eight hits against Milwaukee. Wainwright is 14-9 with a 4.03 ERA in 34 career starts against the Cubs.
Wainwright, who is in the final year of his contract at age 36, demonstrated in his most recent start that he can still be an effective starter.
“Thats how I pitched all spring training,” Wainwright told reporters. “(The first start of the year) was the anomaly — not this one. I expect to go out and carry us deep into games.”