Chicago Cubs: Just how good was that 2003 Cubs team?

Kerry Wood / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Kerry Wood / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: This was not one of the team’s strengths

The bullpen certainly didn’t measure up to the same standards as the rotation, but they had some strong performances, as well. Overall the team’s pen posted a 4.16 ERA (15th), 1.35 WHIP (19th), 1.04 HR/9 (12th highest), second-highest walk rate in baseball (10.8) but also second-highest K-rate (22.7 percent).

The best performers were closer Joe Borowski, who pitched to a 2.63 ERA and converted 33 of 37 saves. Kyle Farnsworth posted a 3.30 ERA and 92 strikeouts. Those were clearly the top performers in the pen, given the struggles of several other guys. Only one reliever who pitched more than 20 innings posted a sub-4.10 FIP (Dave Veres).

It wasn’t the worst bullpen in the world, but it certainly wasn’t the best, either. Borowski had a really good postseason but Farnsworth put up a 10.13 ERA in the NLCS and the pen totaled a 4.20 postseason ERA. The game has changed in the last 15 years, to be sure. Back then, you could win without a super-pen. Now? It’s increasingly difficult to do so.