Five moves the Chicago Cubs must make to have a chance

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /
4 of 6
Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Let the past go – kill it if you have to

Let’s make something abundantly clear right now. Over the last half-decade plus, Pedro Strop has been the single most reliable reliever on this team. Period. End of discussion.

But it’s also perfectly clear that’s no longer the case. The right-hander has been torched this season and it’s not particularly difficult to see why, either. His velocity is down – whether that’s due to his age, lingering hamstring injuries or a combination of the two is up for debate. He’s missing – badly – with both his primary and secondary pitches, rendering what had been swing-and-miss stuff completely useless.

On the year, Strop carries a 5.47 ERA in 30 appearances. He’s been really shoddy lately, though. In his last seven games, he allowed seven runs on eight hits and two walks – over a stretch of just 6 2/3 frames.

In short, he’s been bad. Simple as that.

"“He’s been there before,” Maddon said after Monday’s loss. “He’s been one of the best relievers in baseball for a reason. And one of the biggest reasons is he’s able to take a bad moment and throw it in the trash can fast. I expect him to be normal by (Tuesday).”"

Regardless of whether or not Strop has a short memory – the time is way past for Maddon to shuffle the pecking order in the bullpen and go with someone like Steve Cishek or Brandon Kintzler as the team’s primary setup man.