The Cubs will go with a six-man pitching rotation for a short time the rest of the season.
Manager Dale Sveum told reporters Tuesday in Cincinnati that recently activated right-hander Scott Baker will start Saturday in Pittsburgh and the following Friday at home against the Atlanta Braves.
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Baker was impressive Sunday in his return from Tommy John surgery as he tossed 5 innings of shutout ball in the Cubs' 3-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
During the final three games of the season, at St. Louis, the Cubs will go with rotation mainstays Travis Wood, Edwin Jackson and Jeff Samardzija.
Jackson was the starter in Tuesday night's 9-1 victory over the Reds at Great American Ball Park. The Cubs improved to 62-82 surpassing last year's victory total of 61.
Sveum was asked about a six-man rotation during the past week when he decided to give Baker a start off the disabled list.
Apparently, Baker's good performance and the desire to give the rest of the starters a little extra rest during a busy stretch played into the decision to go with six starters.
"Nothing changes, really," Sveum told reporters. "Everybody will get their same amount of starts, everybody will just get a little bit extra rest. It actually works out pretty well, really."
Things worked out more than well for the Cubs against the Reds. Jackson got in on the power surge with a solo home run in the seventh inning. The Cubs got going early with Welington Castillo launching a 470-foot, 2-run homer to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead.
Donnie Murphy, the surprise story of August and September for the Cubs, hit his 10th homer, all since early August, in the third with a man on.
Jackson won his first decision since July 31, snapping a personal four-game losing streak. He improved to 8-15 with a 4.76 ERA by working 7 innings and giving up 9 hits and the 1 run.
No minor accomplishments:
The Cubs were feeling good about their minor-league teams.
Three of their affiliates made the postseason, and on Monday, Class A Daytona won the Florida State league with a 4-0 win over Charlotte. Class A Boise and Class AA Tennessee bowed out, but Tennessee got a monster home run from Javier Baez.
Between Daytona and Tennessee, Baez hit 37 home runs and drove in 111.
"Personally, in my career, it's as good a minor-league season as I've seen," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer told reporters.
Daytona starting pitchers did not allow a run in 33 innings in the playoffs.
"I'm looking forward to (Cubs future pitching) a lot more than I was a year ago at this time, not to be too brash about it," Sveum said. "The trades we've made and the guys we've got in return and a few of the guys we got in the draft the last few years, they're obviously pitching well."