Cubs' Silva aiming for rotation


Sorry, I haven't been able to really follow any of today's breaking news, too busy trying to figure out who's going to be the Cubs' No. 5 starter this spring. Carlos Silva, anyone?

Silva, who has put himself in the driver's seat for a rotation spot, gave up just two singles and hit a batter, commanding three pitches and putting together his second consecutive strong outing after a miserable debut.

"You can't throw the ball better than he did today," said manager Lou Piniella, adding he was impressed with the way Silva threw the ball inside, changed speeds and changed eye levels on his pitches. "He's been working on some things with our pitching coach [Larry Rothschild], and they're starting to bear some fruit for him."

Between his mom and his pitching coach, Silva said he's feeling as close to that former 14-game winner as he has in years.

It's not exactly a spirited competition; the other candidates for the last rotation slot are Tom Gorzelanny, Jeff Samardzija, and Sean Marshall. Gorzelanny's got a 6.32 ERA over the last two seasons. Samardzija has done well as a starter in the minors, thrived as a reliever in the majors in 2008 but got knocked around in 2009. Marshall's good enough to start for some teams, but he's got a 4.86 ERA in 59 major league starts.

Meanwhile, the math seems simple for Carlos Silva. When he pitched for the Twins, Silva typically threw his fastball around 92 miles an hour. It wasn't a great fastball, but it was good enough because Silva essentially always knew exactly where it was going. When he pitched for the Twins, he still knew where it was going, but he lost a couple of miles an hour and so the hitters had time to figure out where it was going, too.

I think if Silva's back to throwing in the low 90s, he can be effective and might actually be the Cubs' best No. 5 starter, at least in the short term. If he's still throwin in the high 80s, though, I would choose Marshall or Samardzija.