Jordan Wicks was supposed to start for the Iowa Cubs on Wednesday afternoon in Indianapolis, but the lefty has been scratched and it’s not injury-related. This move came in the wake of the announcement that Drew Smyly was the probable starter for the Cubs on Sunday in Pittsburgh, which defied explanation. David Ross said it was because the Cubs didn’t have a “dominant force” waiting to take the spot, but that’s hardly what they’d need in order to competently fill out the rotation.
Wicks is 3-0 with a 3.83 ERA and 30 strikeouts to 13 walks in seven Triple-A starts after going 4-0 with a 3.39 ERA and 69 Ks with 19 walks in 13 starts at Double-A. Though no one will confuse that with being dominant, it beats the hell out of crossing your fingers and hoping Smyly’s double-digit ERA over the last two months or so finally comes down.
Assuming a promotion is imminent, Wicks could either take the Thursday start in Pittsburgh that currently belongs to Justin Steele or he could throw a side session and take Smyly’s spot. The latter would allow the Cubs to have both Steele and Kyle Hendricks, who’s slated for Friday, lined up to face the Brewers back at Wrigley. Javier Assad is scheduled for Saturday and Jameson Taillon, who’s pitching on Wednesday, should take the opener against Milwaukee.
Now, it’s entirely possible this is just a matter of giving Wicks some extra rest so I can see him take the bump on Thursday. As of publication, he’s still with the team in Indy. If it really is about calling him up, though, it seems as though the front office may have decided to guide Ross in his decision-making.