It’s one thing to feel generally like some aspect of the Cubs is not clicking right now, and it’s quite another thing when you get the cold, stark numbers thrown in your face.
That was the case this morning when Michael wrote up the Cubs’ offense so far in the postseason (gotta love when the best bat to see at least 20 PAs has been Jon Jay’s with a whopping 83 wRC+), and it was the case when Buster Olney tweeted this out:
Cubs’ bullpen in this postseason: 24 1/3 innings, 19 runs, 19 walks, 21 strikeouts.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 16, 2017
To be sure, some members of the bullpen have had some good outings, but you lump it all together and man alive if it doesn’t look even worse than it’s felt. And it’s felt really, really bad.
You can’t help but wonder if some guys are just feeling ground down at this point in the year after the Cubs’ rotation suffered a bunch of injuries that compelled plenty of service from the pen.
Consider that Pedro Strop threw just 47.1 big league innings last year, and then went 60.1 this year. Hector Rondon threw 51.0 innings last year, and 57.1 this year. Carl Edwards Jr. threw just 36.0 big league innings last year (and 25.1 at AAA), and then went 66.1 this year. Brian Duensing had 13.1 big league innings last year (and 32.1 in the minors), and bumped that all the way up to 62.1 this year. Mike Montgomery threw 100.0 innings last year, and he’s up to 130.2. Wade Davis missed time with injuries last year and threw just 43.1 innings – this year, he went 58.2 in the regular season.
On the whole, the Cubs’ 559.0 bullpen innings in 2017 were 6th most in the NL, and an absurd leap from the 470.2 innings they logged in 2016 – least in the NL.
When the entire bullpen unit has thrown more innings (in some cases substantially more) in a given season than they did the year before, some fatigue is to be expected. Command can go when the fatigue sets in and the mechanics get harder to repeat as precisely as necessary.
Rest up as much as you can today, boys. There are still some more innings needed.