By Bruce Levine-
MESA, Ariz. (CBS) — The Cubs have gone against the conventional way of setting their rotation by slotting No. 2 starter Travis Wood in the fourth slot, as he’ll start the home opener on April 4.
Wood, the Cubs’ lone All-Star in 2013, had a breakout season last year posting a 3.11 ERA in 32 starts. The team looks at this as a sensible matchup move and a feather in the cap for an important pitcher on its staff.
The Phillies, who are a left-handed dominant club, are the opponent for the home opener. Jeff Samardzija was chosen as the Opening Day starter last week. Edwin Jackson will be the second pitcher in Pittsburgh followed by Jason Hammel.
The fifth starter will be needed on April 5 or 6. Carlos Villanueva will most likely get that start due to his versatility and roster issues that may direct Chris Rusin back to Triple-A. Rusin has pitched well enough to earn a spot, however in order to hold on to pitchers without options, he may be the unlucky one to be sent packing.
The team must decide to pitch Samardzija on his regular day on the 5th, or use the fifth starter and give Samardzija an extra day between his first and second start.