Results tagged ‘ Pedro Strop ’

Afternoon Delight: Dominant Bullpen on the Horizon?

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The bullpen is a tricky thing, from year to year guys come and go, and every once in a while a team boasts a dominant bullpen relatively out of nowhere.  Off-season acquisitions, and power arms marinating on the farm are usually catalysts for such success, but injuries, and unforeseen ineffectiveness can derail the pen quickly.  Given the large number of variables that go into predicting the success of a bullpen it’s usually an exercise in futility, but here goes…  The Cubs’ bullpen has a chance to be dominant (They all do!  You’re screaming), well, let’s just look at the options, shall we?

The Cubs have a solid core group of guys coming back this year, which could point to a reasonable amount of success in 2016.  I base this mostly on the fact that the Cubs had the 8th best bullpen ERA in the Majors last year, and names like Brian Schlitter, Rafael Soriano, Edwin Jackson (wasn’t too terrible in this role), Gonzalez Germen, and Phil Coke were members of said pen.  To be fair, guys like Trevor Cahill, and Travis Wood exceeded expectations in rather unfamiliar bullpen roles last year, and it wouldn’t be crazy to think that they will come back down to Earth a bit.  The fact remains though, the best arms out of that Cubs pen are back this year, and there really is no reason to expect a significant drop in performance.  Let’s break down the possible bullpen roles, yes, despite the crazy competition that will be taking place this spring.

Closer – Hector Rondon

Set up – Pedro Strop

Set up – Justin Grimm

Middle Relief – Adam Warren (acquisition) (Rotation Chance)

Middle Relief – Rex Brothers (acquisition)

Middle Relief – Neil Ramirez

Long Relief – Travis Wood

Long Relief – Trevor Cahill (Rotation chance)

On paper… on paper, that looks pretty darn good, and obviously as I write this I’m using the most optimistic thoughts as possible.  A big key here is the health of Neil Ramirez, he was outstanding in 2014, and parts of 2015 when he wasn’t battling back from injuries, a healthy Ramirez goes a long way towards a great 2016.  Adam Warren proves to be an upgrade over guys that the Cubs had to turn to last year in tough spots, like Jason Motte (again, ignore the injuries for the sake of this conversation).  There is also a chance that Warren will have an opportunity to win a rotation spot, but guys with flexibility are all the rage for Joe Maddon.  Rex Brothers, who was dominate in 2013, and struggled mightily in 2014, looks to bounce back, and if he does proves to be another rather large upgrade.  Young arms like Carl Edwards Jr., Duane Underwood Jr., and Pierce Johnson could also make an impact in the Cubs pen this year despite being starters while working their way through the organization, save for Edwards Jr. last year.

The talent pool is better than last year, and the depth is better as well, those two things put the Cubs in a good spot to start the spring.  If injuries pop up, like they absolutely will, the Cubs are in a better position to handle them, and still might have a few new additions that could surprise during camp, and win a job.

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Lester Plays Stopper as Cubs Hang On

Cubs 5-6

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It’s only May 6th, feeling okay?  This series has been a roller coaster of emotions, and tonight we can all breathe a little easier as the Cubs just barely hung on to beat the Cardinals 6-5.  Both teams scored in alternating innings until the eighth when they both pushed across a run.  Jon Lester didn’t do himself any favors as he made an error which led to an unearned run, which was not the only unearned run of the night.  The Cardinals got two more after a two out error by Addison Russell, but Lester battled all night.  The newest ace of the Cubs was able to work through seven strong innings before watching the bullpen shut the door, I wouldn’t say they slammed it, they shut it quietly.  Nice to be out from under that losing streak, and the Cubs can now go for the split tomorrow afternoon.

At the Plate:

  • Chris Coghlan was plugged into the two hole tonight, he did his job by getting on base, he didn’t have any hits but he walked twice.
  • Anthony Rizzo is hunting down the MVP, he was 2-for-4 with his fifth dinger of the year, three RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Kris Bryant continues to produce, he was 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and two runs scored.
  • Jorge Soler seems to be coming out of his slump, he was 2-for-4 with an RBI in the win.
  • Dexter Fowler, Starlin Castro, David Ross, and Addison Russell all chipped in with a hit.

On the Mound:

  • Jon Lester was gritty tonight, he worked seven innings, giving up four runs, one earned, on seven hits while walking two, and striking out six.
  • Pedro Strop had another shaky outing, he worked one inning, giving up one run on one hit while walking one.
  • Hector Rondon walked the tightrope as well, he worked a scoreless ninth for his sixth save of the year.  He surrendered one hit while walking one, and getting one huge strikeout.

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Cubs Win Third Straight Behind Dominant Hammel

Cubs Final 4-27

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Well, that was fast, under two and a half hours roughly.  Jason Hammel was outstanding tonight as he completely shut down the Pirates from the first pitch as the Cubs took the series opener, 4-0.  Hammel went eight shutout innings, and was never really in trouble as he only allowed four base runners, all hits, no walks.  The Cubs got their runs from likely sources, Anthony Rizzo drove in two runs as did Kris Bryant.  All four runs were driven in with two outs, you can’t really measure how important those hits are.  With the shutout win the Cubs have now won three straight, and have improved to 11-7 on the year, mighty impressive.

At the Plate:

  • Dexter Fowler got things going from the lead-off spot again, he was 2-for-3 with a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored.
  • Jorge Soler broke out of his recent slump, he was 2-for-4 with a double, and a run scored.
  • Anthony Rizzo continues to be a machine, he was 2-for-3 with a walk, a double, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Kris Bryant is racking up the RBI’s, he was 2-for-4 with two RBI’s in this one, and he has knocked in nine so far this year.
  • Miguel Montero, Starlin Castro, and Addison Russell all had one hit in the win.

On the Mound:

  • Hammel Time!  Jason Hammel was stellar, he worked eight shutout innings, giving up four hits, he didn’t walk anybody, and struck out seven.
  • Pedro Strop shut the door in an uneventful ninth, he worked a scoreless inning while striking out one.

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“The Future” Pushes Arrieta to a Victory

Cubs Final 4-20

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It was a rough start for the Cubs tonight as Jake Arrieta got knocked around in the first, but escaped only giving up one run, then he shut it down.  Arrieta retired the next sixteen hitters on his way to a stellar seven inning performance to pick up his second win of the season.  He doesn’t get that win without the exploits of the Cubs future, and well, present, in the middle of the order.  After a double by Soler, and a walk by Rizzo, Kris Bryant crushed a two-run double, and ended up scoring on the same play to give the Cubs a 4-1 lead en route to a 5-2 victory.

Note:  A fan was hit in the back of the head by a Starlin Castro‘s line drive foul ball.  She was behind the protective screen, but was resting on the screen and the ball really smoked her.  The result was a 23 minute on field delay, the update is that she was conscious and thanking the people helping here into the ambulance.  Hopefully she’s okay.

Kris Bryant‘s Little League Homer.

Kris Bryant RBI single.

At the Plate:

  • Hip hip, Jorge!  Soler was a beast in this one, he went 4-for-5 with a double, and two runs scored.
  • Anthony Rizzo was all over the bases, per usual.  Rizzo went 2-for-3 with a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored.
  • Kris Bryant had a rough debut, he’s been everything advertised since, he was 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, three RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Starlin Castro is getting lost in the hype train, but he is having an outstanding 2015, he was 2-for-4 in this one, and his now hitting .327 on the season.

On the Mound:

  • Jake Arrieta with some more hot fire tonight, he worked seven strong innings, he gave up one run on four hits while striking out seven.
  • Pedro Strop was spotless as usual, he worked a scoreless inning while striking out two.
  • Rosscup came on to protect a four run lead, something the Cubs couldn’t do on Saturday, and he did just fine.  He worked an inning, giving up one run on one hit while striking out one.

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One Bad Inning Does in Cubs

Cubs Final 4-14

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Jake Arrieta had his typical no hit stuff against the Reds once again, at least until the fourth inning.  The Reds scored three times on five singles in the fourth inning en route to a 3-2 victory to even up the three game series.  The Cubs didn’t exactly go quietly, that seems to be their thing this year.  Welington Castillo smacked a pinch hit homer in the 8th inning to bring the Cubs to within one, but they couldn’t get any closer.  The Cubs had two more guys on base in the eighth and the ninth, but couldn’t come up with a big hit, this time.  Being able to come back in games is a nice thing to be able to do, you just don’t want to be doing it every night.

At the Plate:

  • Welington Castillo didn’t start but probably had the best game, he was 1-for-1 with a pinch hit dinger, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Matt Szczur, also coming off the bench, had two plate appearances, and walked each time.
  • Dexter Fowler, Anthony Rizzo, Jorge Soler, and Starlin Castro had the other hits, one each.

On the Mound:

  • Jake Arrieta got the start, and was just fine except for that fateful fourth inning, he worked 6.2 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits while walking one, and striking out five.
  • Zac Rosscup made his 2015 debut, he worked 1.1 scoreless innings, he walked one, and struck out two.
  • Pedro Strop worked a scoreless inning to give the Cubs a chance in the ninth, he struck out one in the process.

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Jorge Soler Powers Cubs Past Reds

Cubs Final 4-13 Full Box Score

How about those Cubs?  I’m not going to lie, I’m excited, sure it’s only April, I don’t care, first place.  Jon Lester was off again tonight, but the bullpen picked him up and gave the club a chance to comeback.  That’s exactly what the Cubs did, they came back from two separate three run deficits to win 7-6 thanks for a walk-off single by Arismendy Alcantara.  The game doesn’t get there without Jorge Soler who jacked a pair of two-run homers, what a thrilling night.

At the Plate:

  • Anthony Rizzo was locked in tonight, he was 2-for-3 with two walks, and two runs scored.
  • Jorge Soler was outstanding tonight, he went 3-for-5 with two dingers, four RBI’s, and three runs scored.  He also had a tasty outfield assist.
  • Chris Coghlan continued his torrid start to the season, he went 3-for-4 with a home run, a walk, an RBI, and two runs scored.

On the Mound:

Alcantara wins it!

Soler with an unreal throw.

Soler ties it in the 8th with a bomb!

Soler’s first two-run shot.

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Arrieta Powers Past Cardinals

Cubs 4-8-15 Scorecard

I’m so glad the Cubs didn’t cancel the season after Sunday, because that was fun.  It was a pitchers day at Wrigley, but I’m not sure if 80 degrees and sun would have mattered as Jake Arrieta, and Lance Lynn were brilliant.  Luckily for the Cubs, Arrieta was better, but not by much.  Both guys were dealing, and the winning run came as a result of a hit batter, and a wild throw on a pick-off, go figure.  After Rizzo was hit by a pitch in the 7th, and advanced to second on said wild pick-off, Starlin Castro delivered the game winning single, it was a super lazy single though…

Back to Arrieta, early on he didn’t have his best stuff as he had to battle through trouble in the first and third inning before settling into a groove.  Arrieta worked seven scoreless innings, giving up three hits while walking three, and striking out seven en route to his first win of the season.  For the second straight game the Cubs bullpen displayed just how dangerous they could be, dangerous in a good way, not a Carlos Marmol way.  Phil Coke, Neil Ramirez, Pedro Strop, and Hector Rondon combined to pitch the last two innings with Rondon picking up his first save of the season.

Cubs 4-8 box scor

 

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Thud, Cubs Come up Empty in Opener

April 5 2015 Recap 1

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It was still exciting, it was cool to get the national exposure on opening night, it sucked getting shut out, it is what it is.  Jon Lester struggled with his command early and often, and the Cubs couldn’t find a clutch hit all night in a 3-0 loss to the Cardinals.  A little more about not being clutch, the Cubs were 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position tonight, no bueno.  Conversely the Cardinals went 3-got-14 and that was the difference.  Wainwright was his usual self, but had trouble with his breaking pitches early on Lester Openerwhich drove up his pitch count.  Waino was able to work his way through six innings to get the win.  Lester took the loss in this one as he wasn’t able to escape the 5th inning, he gave up three runs on eight hits, while walking two, and striking out five.

One of the bright spots of the evening was the Cubs bullpen, Phil Coke, Jason Motte, Neil Ramirez, Pedro Strop, and Hector Rondon combined to work 4.2 scoreless inning, giving up two hits while waking two, and striking out five.  I was happy with the at bats the Cubs players had tonight, not many of them were thrown away, they battled.  You’re not going to face a pitcher the caliber of Wainwright every night , tip you cap and go take your frustrations out on Lance Lynn on Tuesday Night.  One down, one hundred and sixty one to go, I still think there will be more good than bad, but can someone kidnap Heyward and send him to the Indians or something?  All in all I think the new look/unfinished Wrigley held up well, I’m sure we will hear some horror stories from fans tomorrow, but on the surface it looked good.

 

April 5 2015 Recap 2
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Cubs No Match For Taijuan Walker

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I’m not even mad.  Taijuan Walker put on a pitching clinic last night in what had to be the fastest spring training game in the History of ever.  The Cubs couldn’t do much of anything against the young right-hander, and they could only manage six hits in the 3-2 loss.  Travis Wood wasn’t terrible, he just couldn’t keep up in the five innings he worked.  Wood gave up three runs on five hits, while walking two, and striking out three, his spring ERA sits at 4.19 which is fine.  The pen did some work last night, Pedro Strop, Phil Coke, and Hector Rondon combined to work three scoreless innings, giving up one hit while walking two, and striking out four.

Fake Rally

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Cubs Outlast Dodgers For Another Win (VIDEO)

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You would think a five run lead with Jake Arrieta on the mound would be safe, it almost wasn’t.  The Dodgers knocked around Arrieta in the second inning as they scored four times to cut a five run deficit to one.  To Arrieta’s credit he battled and was able to work four innings, giving up said four runs on seven hits while walking two, and striking out five.  The bullpen did the job today as C.J. Edwards, Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon, and Joe Ortiz combined to work five scoreless innings, giving up five hits while walking one, and striking out four.

A lot of good swings from the Cubs today as they pounded out thirteen hits while scoring seven times.  Chris Coghlan made some loud noises with his bat, he finished the day 1-for-3 with a two-run blast, three RBI, and a run scored.  Jorge Soler, and Albert Almora both continued their strong springs this afternoon with two hits each.  Almora finished the day 2-for-3 with two doubles, two RBI, and two runs scored, he’s now hitting .353 on the spring.  After starting the spring 1-8-1, the Cubs have now won six of seven, and are playing all around better baseball.

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cubs-dodgers-3-18-pitchers

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