Chicago Cubs: Bullpen cannot succumb to burnout

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

Let the past be the past

In each of the previous couple seasons, by the time the end of September and beginning of October arrived, the Cubs had firmly entrenched themselves as the winners of the National League Central while looking ahead to the postseason.

These are the pivotal months for teams, and thus it is essential to understand the difference in production between the two seasons, as well as where the Cubs will hopefully finish.

In 2016, in September/October, the teams’ bullpen posted a very respectable 3.18 ERA in 87.2 innings pitched. Their xFIP finished above-average at 3.38 and held teams to a lowly .213 BABIP. Fast forwarding to 2017 and everything changed.

The xFIP jumped to an average of 3.85, while their BABIP went through the roof to a ridiculous .362. In the age-old adage from Willie Keeler “hit’em where they ain’t,” this was precisely the case as the Cubs fell victim to this throughout much of the postseason last year.

In a piece released last postseason by NBC Chicago’s Tony Andracki, he made it clear how much of a rough go the bullpen had during that stretch. According to Andracki, the Cubs had four arms who combined for a 17.06 ERA and 3.16 WHIP, in only 6 1/3 innings. Yikes. Carl Edwards and Mike Montgomery, two of those names, were not good. John Lackey and Hector Rondon were less surprising compared to Edwards and Montgomery, however still frustrating, filling Cubs fans with rage.