The time is now to ramp it up if the Chicago Cubs need to have a successful postseason–especially the pitching and the bullpen.
Let’s face it. The Chicago Cubs need the starting rotation and the bullpen to be excellent–because the offense hasn’t been impressive. With 11 games remaining– four at home–the pitching staff needs to be stellar. And that applies to the rest of the playoff teams, but especially the Cubs.
Jose Quintana will come out of the pen when he comes back from injury, adding another left-hander to the mix. Tyler Chatwood might be out unless they play in the World Series. But that’s spoken with caution, as David Ross knows.
"“I don’t want to make a statement that his season is over, but I would say there’s definitely a lot of caution,” Ross said. h/t Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune"
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Still, there’s plenty of options available. Yu Darvish is a Cy Young candidate, even though Trevor Bauer is primed to win it. Though I don’t like the Reds, I like Bauer. Kyle Hendricks is consistent as can be–and Alec Mills has had two fine starts, including a no-hitter. The starting rotation is coming together as they progress further in the season.
The bullpen is coming together, too. Jeremy Jeffress allowed a two-run homer to the Indians in the ninth to Francisco Lindor, but after back-to-back hit batsmen in the bottom half of the ninth, he got the win. Craig Kimbrel has not allowed a run in five appearances. As Kimbrel returns to form, he’ll likely get some save opportunities, as well.
Their starting to come together. Ian Happ and Jason Heyward are the only offensive options. But Javier Baez hit a blast for a home run from the sixth spot. And the seven through nine spots have been the most consistent they’ve had.
Between COVID-19, empty stands at the ballpark and the Black Lives Matter? It’s been a strange year indeed. And after the Wild Card round, they will be playing in a ‘bubble’. It’s 2020. Did you expect anything different?