Cubs: 3 ways the season has gone wrong and 2 ways it's gone right

Chicago Cubs v Houston Astros
Chicago Cubs v Houston Astros / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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Cubs: 3 ways the season has gone wrong - #1: This bullpen has been a failure in just about every measurable sense of the word

The Cubs have been masterful at snatching veterans off the scrap heap and turning them into valuable bullpen pieces in recent years - but Jed Hoyer's latest attempt hasn't yielded anywhere near the same results.

Chicago's two veteran offseason relief pick-ups, Michael Fulmer and Brad Boxberger, have been both injured and ineffective - only adding the stress on the familiar faces returning in 2023. Their struggles, combined with shortcomings from the likes of Brandon Hughes, Keegan Thompson, Jeremiah Estrada and Javier Assad, have left manager David Ross in a less than ideal scenario on a nightly basis.

Without at least a few reliable arms in his arsenal, Ross has been forced to rely on guys who, simply, haven't had it this season. That's not to say he hasn't made his fair share of questionable decisions when it comes to bullpen usage, but he doesn't exactly possess an arsenal of late-inning weapons, either.

The Cubs already have 15 blown leads on the year, are 5-11 in one-run games and no lead has really felt safe. The results speak for themselves. Chicago enters Wednesday in fourth place in one of the weakest and most winnable divisions in baseball and one can't help but think it could be a very different story had the bullpen performed as expected.