Cubs' Wade Miley's season debut vs. Padres something to build off

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Why Miley's Cubs debut something to build off originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

If Wade Miley is going to provide the boost to the starting rotation the Cubs are looking for, it will take a couple starts to happen.

Tuesday was a reminder of that, when Miley made his team and season debut against the Padres in San Diego.

Miley threw three innings, allowing five hits, five walks and three runs in the Cubs’ 5-4 loss to the Padres. He threw 64 pitches before exiting.

Miley was behind other Cubs starters in the abbreviated spring training after taking a cautious approach to his workload during MLB’s lockout and missed part of camp and the first month of the regular season with elbow inflammation.

He’s still building up his workload and has only faced live batters a handful of times since spring training opened — a mix of live batting practice sessions and a four-inning rehab start last week with Triple-A Iowa.

Even with inefficiency Tuesday, there were some encouraging signs that speak to why the Cubs are hopeful he can be a "stabilizing force" for a rotation that has dealt with several injuries early on and entered the day 27th in ERA and 26th in innings.

All five hits off Miley were singles, including a shift-beater by Eric Hosmer and infield roller that Wil Meyers beat out.

"For what we needed and how badly we were in need some starting pitching," manager David Ross told reporters in San Diego, "for him to go out and give us a chance to win and continue to build on him getting back to full strength, I thought it was pretty good."

Between Miley, fellow offseason addition Marcus Stroman and Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs built a rotation over the offseason with three proven veterans at the top.

Stroman and Hendricks had a mix of good and bad starts in April and both are coming off their best starts of the season. Stroman threw seven shutout innings in his last start; Hendricks threw 8 2/3 shutout innings in Monday's win.

Miley is coming off a strong season with the Reds: 28 starts, 3.37 ERA, 5.5 bWAR.

As he keeps building, the Cubs are looking for their offseason rotation plan to come into fruition.

“We picked him up in hopes of getting who he's been,” Ross said of Miley last week. “He’s a guy who knows how to compete, been a part of winning, been a part of a lot of winning. Love the pace.

“Just knows how to navigate a lineup, knows how to go out and compete every five days. Veteran presence. Definitely a stabilizing force in the rotation along with some of those other veterans we have and bringing along some of these young guys.”

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