There is no Chicago Cubs player more locked in than Miguel Montero right now. The team's backup catcher has been red hot at the plate and on Saturday night he was a life saver on the mound. With his team trailing the New York Yankees 11-4, Montero entered the game as a pinch-hitter and hit a single that scored two runs. Because the game was out of reach and the Cubs bullpen has been thoroughly taxed in this early part of the season he stayed in to pitch.

It turns out manager Joe Maddon should have given Montero the ball to start the game because, despite two walks, the backup catcher managed to have a better outing than his team's starting pitcher. Montero pitched a full inning to go along with those two walks, while not allowing a run. Compare that outing to Brett Anderson, who was given the ball to start the game. He left after recording one out, and giving up six hits and five earned runs.

The Brett Anderson experiment at an end?

While the Cubs’ backup catcher suddenly being one of the most effective pitchers the team could throw out there on Saturday is never a good thing, it’s especially bad when he’s taking over for what was a prized free agent pickup. It’s clear Chicago had been hoping Anderson was going to be yet another diamond in the rough pickup like the team had managed to grab over the last few years.

Since the season has kicked off, Anderson has been less than effective in a majority of his starts. Anderson’s poor performances hit rock bottom on Saturday where he put his team in a 5-0 hole before he had to exit the game with “back stiffness.” The big question now is whether Anderson is really hurt, or whether this is the Cubs way of finding a way to shelve the pitcher until they can figure out how to get rid of him.

Chicago Cubs going in the wrong direction

No one ever said defending a world championship was going to be easy, but so far the Cubs have been looking as though the mantel of defending champion is a bit too heavy. Even with Montero hitting a cool .400 on the season, the team has fallen to 16-14 on the year. The struggles haven’t knocked the team out of first place just yet, but they also aren’t running away with the NL Central the way they did a year ago.

Performances like those of Brett Anderson’s have hampered the Chicago Cubs. Performances like Miguel Montero’s have been too few and far between. The club will try and get back on track Sunday while salvaging at least one win against the Yankees.

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