The Chicago Cubs’ bullpen has to show up in 2020

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Chicago Cubs

Craig Kimbrel / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

For the Chicago Cubs to be back in the playoffs in this unique 2020 season, the bullpen will have to play at a higher level than in seasons past.

Much has been talked about the Chicago Cubs bullpen during this longer than expected offseason. Can they bounce back after having a not so great 2019? That will be a question that will play out in the sprint of a 60 game schedule.

The Cubs bullpen as an entire group in 2019 was not that bad, as they posted a 3.98 ERA, which was 8th best in the MLB. They also held hitters to a .234 batting average in 2019; those numbers appear very good. When you take a closer look at the numbers, though, it shows the actual story.

The Cubs were terrible in high leverage situations: 7.92 ERA (No. 24 in MLB), 15 home runs allowed (tied for No. 22), 61 walks (No. 29), and a .380 on-base percentage (No. 27). The bullpen also blew 28 saves (sixth-most in MLB) and converted just 57.58 percent of their opportunities (No. 22 in MLB).

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