On a gloomy Wednesday afternoon at Wrigley, Cubs' right-hander Carlos Silva improved to 4-0 in his seventh start of the season. With a 4-3 win over the visiting Florida Marlins, Silva is off to his best start since 2004, where he began the season 5-0 for the Twins.
Sports fans and analysts alike were skeptical when Chicago General Manager Jim Hendry announced that the Cubs, after finishing the 2009 season 86-76, had acquired Silva for clubhouse virus Milton Bradley, and cash, from the Seattle Mariners.
Bradley has struggled again this season. He's since been placed on the inactive list after asking the Mariners front office for help with "emotional stress."
Silva, meanwhile, has reclaimed his career, The righthander is tearing up the National League, backed by the sporadic Cubs offense. But is Silva really that good?
When Silva has taken the mound this season, Chicago has outscored opponents 49-28. But the team is hitting just .271 on the season.
Though Silva holds an unblemished record, his ERA has escalated to a season high 3.50, still his lowest in five seasons.
For the third time this year, Lou Pinella yanked Silva in the sixth inning. The starter surrendered seven hits, two runs and two walks.
Holding a two run lead in the top of the fourth, Silva gave up a two run single to Marlins catcher Ronny Paulino. The game tying hit scored Hanley Ramirez and Jorge Cantu.
How does the Venezuelan right-hander keep winning with such mediocre performances?
Despite his fourth inning blunders, Silva would regain the lead with an RBI double by Marlon Byrd and a wild pitch by Chris Volstad. Volstad's mistake allowed shortstop Starlin Castro to touch home, giving the Cubs a 4-2 lead. The runs were enough insurance for Silva, who notched his fourth win.
In his May 7th victory, Silva received the most run support by the Chicago lineup with 14, while pitching only five innings and giving up 10 hits. Silva also has three no decisions, which came against the Reds (19-15), Nationals (19-15) and Diamondbacks (14-20).
Silva could very well be 4-3.
On May 1st, Silva threw five innings, giving up five runs to the NL West worst Diamondbacks. The Cubs rallied in the sixth to, once again, save Silva from another blemish.
Against the Nationals on April 26th, Chicago jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, which quickly evaporated when Silva allowed two runs in the fourth, then another in the sixth to tie the game at 3. He was lifted in the seventh. The Cubs eventually won the game in the bottom of the 10th when Brian Bruney walked the bases loaded.
Silva clearly isn't as good as his record suggests. Though the pitcher obviously won't maintain his ethereal 0.69 ERA, no one would've predicted that the Cubs OFFENSE would be the source of his success.