Be it injury or poor performances, it doesn’t seem that the Chicago Cubs have any clear choices for the bullpen. Does anyone in camp want to grab this final spot?
When the Chicago Cubs Brian Duensing went down, I talked about which left-hander could step in if he was to miss any extended time. The problem? Jack Leathersich is still out with chest tightness. And Rob Zastryzny has been just awful this spring. And then there’s David Rollins, who was picked up off waivers FIVE times. Twice by the Cubs, Twice by the Rangers and once by the Phillies. And all he’s done this spring is pitch four innings of clean baseball.
I preface almost everything I say this year with “it’s only Spring Training”. And while that may hold true for the starters and guys that have a guaranteed roster spot, the rest are playing for their baseball lives, so to speak. But when the bullpen continues to struggle like It has? It starts to be a little concerning.
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Sunday’s game against the A’s is a good example. Up 7-1 entering the bottom of the seventh, the wheels came off for the Cubs bullpen. Williams Perez–a NRI from Atlanta–allowed four runs in an inning. It was his first, and possibly only appearance for the Cubs. Then the reliable (in terms of last season) Zastryzny came in. You know, to stop the bleeding. He allowed four runs without recording an out in the seventh inning.
Duensing pain-free, still out
Duensing has thrown twice pain-free and hopes to get back on the mound soon. His concern is being in a situation where the Cubs don’t trust him.
"“I just want to be reliable,” Duensing said. “I don’t want Joe [Maddon] or [Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio] questioning whether or not I can get the job done."
This is a bullpen that looks strong from front to back, especially if Brett Anderson can remain healthy and in the rotation. That would allow Mike Montgomery to work as a swingman out of the pen. But this search for a left-hander is getting a bit worrisome.
As I’ve mentioned previously, I though Leathersich was going to be the guy that would come into camp and steal a spot in the bullpen. But the chest tightness keeping him off the mound isn’t helping his case. Zastryzny is a mess and needs to “reboot”, and Duensing is having the same issues staying on the mound.
The battle for the last spot in the pen, especially in regards to a lefty, may simply come down to the last man standing. I really don’t think that’s how the Cubs envisioned it.