There seems to be an epidimic going around Major League Baseball in the first two weeks of the 2017 season and the Cubs are right in the middle of it.
Bullpens are struggling at an alarming rate, as MLB Network Radio pointed out Monday morning:
Your eyes aren't deceiving you - bullpens are melting down at an alarming rate in 2017. pic.twitter.com/rlp5obT2k0— MLB Network Radio Sirius 209, XM 89 (@MLBNetworkRadio) April 17, 2017
MLB teams are converting just over 60 percent of save opportunities and bullpen ERAs for the entire league sit at 4.10.
So it's not just the Cubs, who struggled holding leads over the weekend as the bullpen gave up 11 runs in 5.1 innings Saturday and Sunday.
The Cubs have converted just two of their six save opportunities, but there are four other teams struggling just as badly — Rangers, Mariners, Blue Jays and Marlins.
So what does this all mean?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
It's two weeks into the season. No great claims can be made with 150 games left until the playoffs start.
The Cubs bullpen is packed with veteran depth and talent and history strongly indicates they should be able to right the ship.
Pedro Strop has allowed four runs and eight baserunners in four innings so far this season, but he has a 3.30 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in his career, including a 2.68 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in 232 games in a Cubs uniform prior to this season.
Justin Grimm has a 9.53 ERA in 5.2 innings in 2017 but he came into the year with a 3.29 ERA in 213 games with the Cubs.
Koji Uehara allowed three runs (two earned) without recording an out Sunday but prior to that, he hadn't allowed a run since last July, which was the longest streak in the big leagues among relief pitchers.
Brian Duensing struggled Saturday after being activated off the disabled list but he's only thrown two innings so far.
Beyond that, Wade Davis and Carl Edwards Jr. have yet to give up a run in a combined 10 innings and have allowed just four hits. Hector Rondon (1.69 ERA) and Mike Montgomery (3.00 ERA) have also been effective in small samples.
Point is, it's too early to freak out about anything with the Cubs, even if they are only .500 (6-6) entering play Monday.