Saturday, April 13, 2024

Cubs in Midst of Historic Choke Job

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I think back to former Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost, who was generally not regarded as a good manager, but he looked like a wizard in 2014 and 2015, leading the Royals to consecutive World Series appearances and winning a title in his second attempt. Then, my mind goes to Bruce Bochy, who in 2016 was already a 3-time World Series winning manager with the San Francisco Giants and was viewed as one of the elite skippers in the game. Following the 2016 NLDS, Giants fans were fed up with Bochy because of his bullpen management that season.

So, was Yost actually a mastermind in 2015? Was Bochy actually a good manager? I forget where I heard this, but over the years I’ve embraced the thought that a manager is only as good as his bullpen. In 2015, Yost’s Kansas City Royals had the second best bullpen ERA in baseball.

In 2016, the Giants led MLB with 30 blown saves with a bullpen that had on overall below average ERA. Cubs fans will always remember the 2016 Giants because in Game 4 of the NLDS, Bochy went to his bullpen in the ninth inning to protect a 5-1 lead. Five different relievers were used and they couldn’t secure the led, leading to a 6-5 win for the Cubs that propelled them to a World Series title.

That brings me to the 2023 Cubs. Believe me, I have soured on David Ross as the team’s manager, but when you take a step back and look at what’s happened in September, I have a hard time pinning this on him. Sure, he’s had his failures, but what manager is going to succeed with this.

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Via ESPN Stats & Info.

The Cubs have now lost 5 games this month after holding a lead in the 8th inning or later. That’s tied for their most such losses in any single month over the last 50 seasons (June 1991 & September 1992).

The Cubs have been without their closer Adbert Alzolay for most of September, first trying to pitch through an arm issue before landing on the injured list with a forearm strain. Michael Fulmer, who had turned his season around, has made one appearance this month between his two stints on the IL with a forearm injury as well. Brad Boxberger returned from his own forearm strain only to get injured again after five outings.

Julian Merryweather, Mark Leiter Jr. and José Cuas have all been overused in the second half. This bullpen is out of gas, it has been out of gas and at this point there just aren’t any good options to turn to. It sucks. It sucks.

Alzolay is hoping to return on Friday, when the Cubs begin their final regular season series against the Milwaukee Brewers. Hopefully he’ll be able to pitch in some meaningful situations this weekend.

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thebeezr
thebeezr
Sep 29, 2023 12:55 pm

Wholeheartedly agree!

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