The Chicago Cubs bullpen worst to second best
After a dreadful start to the season, the Cubs bullpen went from being the worst in baseball to finishing with the second-best ERA–2.96.
Look for David Ross to use some combination of Jeremy Jeffress and Craig Kimbrel in late-inning situations.
Hard-throwing left-hander Brailyn Marquez made his big league debut in the season finale, and while it was far from great (2/3 IP 5 ER), his number will likely be called again in the postseason.
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Ryan Tepera (20 2/3 IP 3.92 ERA), Dan Winkler (18 1/3 IP 2.95 ERA), and Andrew Chafin (3 IP 3.00 ERA) will all play critical roles at some point in October as well.
They might not be the most prominent names, but up to this point, they have performed better than Miami’s bullpen.
The Marlins relievers posted the fifth-worst ERA in baseball (5.50) this season.
Former-Cub Brandon Kintzler (24 1/3 IP 2.22 ERA) has struggled in terms of strikeouts (14) and walks (11), but has nonetheless been significant as the team’s closer.
The biggest weapon in the Marlins comes in the form of Yimi Garcia, who has allowed just one earned run while striking out 19 batters and walking five in 15 innings pitched this season.
Look for right-hander James Hoyt (14 2/3 IP 1.23 ERA) and lefty Richard Bleier (13 2/3 IP 2.63 ERA) to be called out of the bullpen well throughout the series.
In a perfect world, the starters would go at least seven or eight innings with the offense providing many runs, so the bullpen won’t be a factor.
Unfortunately, that’s not how playoff baseball works, and the bullpens will prove to be vital at some point in the postseason.