Chicago Cubs: Starting Ryan Dempster over Matt Garza Is Foolish of Dale Sveum

Jeff ChaseSenior Analyst IIMarch 24, 2012

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - MAY 18:  Ryan Dempster #46 of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium on May 18, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Chicago Cubs' Opening Day starter will be Ryan Dempster, while Matt Garza will be the second man in the team's rotation.

Wait—what?

It appears that manager Dale Sveum may have a screw loose in his head, because this rotation call just seems foolish.

There is no doubt in anyone's mind that Garza is the top pitcher on the Cubs staff, and Dempster is perhaps only here because of his contract, which left him with the option of staying or going. 

Last season, Dempster went 10-14 while boasting an ERA of 4.80. Yeah, that is really some ace-quality pitching, don't you think?

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Matt Garza #17 of the Chicago Cubs pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on September 27, 2011 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Garza, on the other hand, went 10-10 in his first season on the North Side, while having an ERA of 3.32 and 197 strikeouts—both career bests.

It is just bewildering, and it doesn't make much sense. Perhaps if the Cubs were starting on the road and were setting up Garza for Opening Day at Wrigley Field, that would be understandable.

It isn't though, and that is what will have fans wondering when April 5 rolls around.

This is the second year in a row that Dempster has been given the nod, and it is just bewildering that this is who the team is going with, especially since they will be taking on the Washington Nationals with Stephen Strasburg on the mound.

In last year's Opening Day start, Dempster looked like the fifth man in the rotation—perhaps even a guy who had thrown his last pitch.

The team was playing the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Dempster failed to slow them down, as he gave up six runs on six hits in just 6.2 innings. Two of those were home runs, and it was becoming quite clear that Dempster didn't exactly have his stuff anymore.

Well, he will have to prove all of the Cubbie faithful wrong this Opening Day, as many will continue to be scratching their heads until they see exactly what Sveum is seeing.

 

Jeff Chase is a Featured Columnist for the Chicago Cubs and Arizona State football.