The Cubs Bullpen is Far From Settled, Players Show Their Style, Prayers for Yu, and Other Bullets

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The Cubs Bullpen is Far From Settled, Players Show Their Style, Prayers for Yu, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

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  • The regression was looming for Randy Rosario all year, and unfortunately it came in the form of a four-run 9th inning in a game the Cubs ultimately lost by four runs. He now sports a 3.00 ERA, up from sub-2, but it pairs it with a 14.8% strikeout rate, a 13.4% walk rate, 1.36 homers per nine, 14.7% soft contact, and 34.3% hard contact. There simply isn’t – and has never been – anything in his numbers to suggest that he’s ready to be a big league reliever in a playoff contender bullpen. Those numbers are brutally bad, and the ERA was undeservedly deflated by an unsustainably low BABIP, an unsustainably high LOB rate, and a bullpen around him that wasn’t allowing the runners he left on base to score. Even if you feel like the 9th inning is well-covered by Pedro Strop, Rosario’s continued presence in the bullpen is a reason we want to see Brandon Morrow back as quickly as possible. (Or Anthony Bass, for that matter.)
  • Keep in mind, Rosario is just 24 and had never pitched at AAA before coming to the Cubs (he got two appearances with the big league Twins late last year, straight up from AA). He could still be a useful guy down the road, but he simply isn’t right now, regardless of the arm he pitches with.
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
  • And, yes, it would be nice if the Cubs had another lefty in the bullpen if Rosario were going to be bounced, but it’s not like he’s dominating fellow lefties anyway, so. It may just have to come down to a time when, eventually, Mike Montgomery returns to the bullpen, and Drew Smyly is added to the bullpen. Each of those things is unlikely to happen until September.
  • Oh, and if the starting pitchers continue to top out at five innings per start, the bullpen will only grow more and more exposed in the coming weeks, and then the key guys will be more and more ground down by the time the end of September rolls around. Cheers!
  • The Cubs shook off that terrible loss to a terrible team yielding a terrible series split and dressed up like Pedro Strop for their latest theme road trip:

  • I say Yu Darvis wins, except his hat is going in the wrong direction:

  • Speaking of Darvish, the current plan is for him to throw a simulated game (I presume this time that will mean pitching to live batters) in the coming days before heading out on a rehab assignment (Cubs.com). That could put a rehab start on the docket for early next week, and, even if he makes three rehab starts, he’d be on track to return to the Cubs before the end of the month. Given the close proximity to September (when rosters expand) and the long rehab process (which included a setback), I tend to think the Cubs will be very conservative about Darvish’s return. It would not surprise me if he doesn’t make his first start back with the Cubs until September. Whenever it comes, I will pray for five healthy starts and then a good run in the playoffs.
  • Joe Maddon got quite the letter, which included a line about that:

  • I see these kinds of articles circulating in non-baseball spaces, and I am reminded what a black eye this is for the sport:

  • I was on ESPN 1000 yesterday if you missed and want to listen – the best part was when I surmised that Jon Lester might be able to keep outpitching his peripherals for a variety of unique reasons (d’oh):

  • Whenever someone asks about my backpack, I am obliged to share:


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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.