Chicago Cubs: Ryan Tepera desperately needs rest after Milwaukee

(Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
(Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs have gotten an insane amount of mileage out of their bullpen. Where the starting pitching is still in need of some serious help, the relief corps has thrived, getting great results out of nearly every arm to step on the mound. At the back end, their big three of Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin and Craig Kimbrel are among the most valuable relievers in all of baseball.

That is until Monday night. In a tied game against the Brewers, Tepera uncorked one of the ugliest innings in Cubs history, allowing four runs to score in the eighth before Trevor Megill was crucified for another six. It was Tepera’s third such rough outing in his past four appearances. Despite that, it’s not quite time to worry.

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In the last seven games, Tepera allowed seven runs in only three innings pitched with a home run for good measure, ballooning his ERA to 3.35. What’s really bitten him lately is the walk. Before this stretch, he only had seven walks all season. He’s had five in his last three innings. Yet, this seems like more of a lack of rest rather than the righty falling back to earth.

Compared to his two partners in crime, Tepera pitched the most innings out of all three and David Ross recently discussed resting him for a bit after that blowout in Milwaukee.

Coincidentally, the Cubs also moved him onto the 10-day IL on Tuesday in response to a calf strain he had reportedly been dealing with. I find it hard to believe it was just the strain that forced Tepera on the IL. It feels more like they took the opportunity to get him off his feet for a bit and that’s good.

It’s about time the Chicago Cubs gave Ryan Tepera a rest

If the Cubs are going to stay in this throughout the summer, a healthy Tepera, Chafin and Kimbrel will be crucial to their success. Right now, the team also has some less-often used arms like Dan Winkler that have proven to be just as capable out of the bullpen, so it’s not the end of the world right now to be without one of the big three. For what it’s worth, they’ve also added Adam Morgan to the big league squad to take some of the load off as well.

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If anything, this incident should be taken as another reason for the team to invest in starting pitching at the deadline. They don’t need a Max Scherzer (nor could that happen), they just need someone to eat innings without fear of a critical meltdown every time. With this bullpen eating so much of the Cubs’ innings, it’s no wonder some of their big dogs are starting to feel the wear and tear kick in.