By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — The call to the bullpen came in the second inning for the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday evening of a 7-2 loss to the Rockies at Wrigley Field. It would have been a better show if it had been starter “Dallas Beeler’s Day Off.” With all due respect to the young man, a 6.05 ERA at Triple-A Iowa hardly screams out major league starting pitcher, and that was made clear again Tuesday, when he allowed four runs, all earned, in 1 1/3 innings.
In the thick of the NL wild-card race, the Cubs must make a deal and do it soon. For the most part, pitching has been a strength for Chicago most of the season. But after 100 ballgames, attrition and sub-par performances have wiped out any perceived depth in the rotation and bullpen. The many candidates once vying to help out with quality pitching have gone by the boards. Help through some astute non-waiver deadline and post-deadline deals will be a necessary for the Cubs to hang with the Pirates and Giants in the wild-card race.
A flurry of sources have the Cubs looking for starters and closers as trading deadline approaches at 3 p.m. Central time Friday. San Diego and Miami appear to have inventory to trade for the right mix of young players in return.
“I know we have more offense in our room,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “I always believe you can’t get enough pitching. I really mean that. Pitching and catching the ball in today’s game of 2-1 and 3-2 games, that is what will get you to that championship game. I am so into pitching and defense. Offensively, of course we would have liked to do more to this point. I know there is more.”
The Padres have been said to have almost all of their starting pitchers available. Closer Craig Kimbrel’s name has appeared as well. The Cubs need a lockdown closer and a strong third or fourth starter. Tyson Ross, Ian Kennedy and James Shields may be there in the right deal for young players.
In Miami, Mat Latos and Dan Haren are pitchers that can be had. With both Jeff Samardzija of the White Sox and David Price of the Tigers having pitched Tuesday, the odds are both will stay with their respective teams. Both pitchers have been on the wish lists of numerous teams.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.