A Look at Pitching

After Monday's 10-6 loss to Colorado, the Cubs fell to 6-5 overall this spring and currently have an inflated 6.22 staff ERA through their first 11 contests.

(Includes play through 3/13/06.)

To no one's amazement, most Cactus League pitching staffs have struggled through the hitter-friendly Arizona climates this spring. Kansas City entered the day Tuesday with the best combined ERA in the 12-club league, but only at a hefty 5.05 mark. The Oakland A's actually managed to best the Cubs by seven points on the ERA scale despite allowing a major league high 22 home runs in their first 13 contests.

As a whole, the Cubs' unit notched 66 strikeouts to 45 walks through their first 97 innings while giving up 14 home runs. Greg Maddux held opposing hitters to a .118 average and allowed one earned run in five innings spanning his first two starts. Struggling left-hander Glendon Rusch was tagged again on Monday for three runs on six hits. He has given up a team-high nine runs (seven earned) in as many innings.

Left-handers John Koronka and Will Ohman each had five appearances -- the second most in the league -- entering Tuesday. Koronka gave up three runs in his first 5 1/3 innings while Ohman surrendered two runs in five innings. For his part, Rusch was tied with five others for the most innings pitched behind Colorado's Jason Jennings, who has made four starts.

Pitchers Bobby Howry and Scott Eyre, the Cubs' biggest additions to the bullpen in the off-season, had allowed a combined three hits in eight innings between the two. Closer Ryan Dempster allowed one run through his first four appearances, a span of four innings.

vs. the Central

All five competing Central division teams had better results on the mound than the Cubs as of Tuesday. The best ERA among them was Cincinnati at a shaky 4.57 clip through their first 14 games; followed by Pittsburgh at 4.61 through 14 games, Houston at 4.68 through 12 games, and St. Louis at 4.75 after 12 games. The Brewers, the only other Cactus League affiliate from the Central, had a combined ERA of 5.30 in 12 games despite their 8-4 start.

Cactus League Attendance Update

In their first six games at HoHoKam Park, the Cubs drew 58,209 fans with another 36,078 in five road contests. As of Tuesday, the Cubs were the only team to have drawn over 50,000 fans in Cactus League home attendance. They trail only the Yankees -- 70,439 fans in seven home games -- in overall attendance this spring.


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