Chicago Cubs: The Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon 1-2 punch key for 2016
It’s been a few years since the Chicago Cubs had the wild slider throwing Carlos Marmol on the mound. Thankfully, he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, ending a seven-year run on the North Side.
The 33-year-old right-hander is currently a free agent after failing to keep a job with both the Dodgers, Miami Marlins, Cincinnati Reds, and Cleveland Indians. He made 21 appearances with Los Angeles.
When the Cubs acquired Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop from the Baltimore Orioles, fans, including myself, had no idea how great these two would turn out. It’s obvious that Chicago ended up with a steal despite Strop hitting several bumps along the way, but that happens to the best of them.
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I’m definitely referring to Jhonny Peralta‘s home run at Wrigley during the regular season.
Last season, the bullpen had some issues early on, losing a handful of games that should have resulted in wins. It was frustrating to watch, but things began to improve over time while Strop and Hector Rondon each had one of the best campaigns of their careers.
While Pedro wrapped up the season with three saves, 28 holds, 81/29 K/BB ratio, 1.00 and a 2.91 ERA, Rondon turned some heads by finishing with an earned run average that was well below two.
In 72 appearances, the 27-year-old Venezuelan-born closer recorded 30 saves, eight holds, 1.00 WHIP, and a solid 69/15 K/BB ratio behind a strong 1.67 ERA for Joe Maddon.
These two helped send the St. Louis Cardinals packing during the National League Division Series with Rondon pulling through with a ninth-inning that he’ll never forget.
Their work caused millions of Cubs fans across the world, including the thousands in attendance at Wrigley Field that night to lose their minds after they became the first National League team to clinch a spot in the championship series.
It’ll be a night that we’ll never forget although the miracle season had come to an end thanks to Daniel Murphy and his former team, the New York Mets. Hopefully, they’ll get another shot at redeeming themselves against either team during the postseason.
Before entering the 2016 campaign, there’s no doubt that Rondon will emerge as the club’s closer after Maddon decided to begin his first year as Chicago’s skipper with a bullpen committee.
Either way, these two will provide a much-needed 1-2 punch over the course of the final two innings of a ballgame.