Aroldis Chapman firing 103 mph fastballs past hitters is going to send the sellout crowds at Wrigley into a frenzy on a nightly basis in the season's final few months.
It also gives the Cubs bullpen a completely different look, something Joe Maddon has referenced several times since Theo Epstein's front office pulled off the blockbuster for the most dominant closer in the game.
With Chapman slamming the door in the ninth, Hector Rondon and his 1.89 ERA now move up to the eighth inning. Pedro Strop — who is having arguably the best season of his career with a 2.79 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and 11.4 K/9 — now slots in as a seventh-inning guy, which is exactly how it played out Thursday night at Wrigley Field.
It has the look of a trio of relievers that could rival the dominant Kansas City Royals bullpen over the last two World Series runs.
Cubs second baseman/outfielder Ben Zobrist got a firsthand look at the back end of the Royals' bullpen last fall, watching Kelvin Herrera, Ryan Madson and Wade Davis combine for only one unearned run against the New York Mets in 12 World Series innings.
Zobrist isn't ready to crown the Cubs' bullpen in the same category, but he could see how the comparisons could be made.
"I don't know; it just started," Zobrist said before Thursday's Crosstown finale. "I'm not gonna say it's exactly like it. It's different. It's different guys, but it's the same type of makeup.
"You got really hard-throwing guys that know how to spot their pitches and they're really tough pitchers. That's the way it felt last year in Kansas City.
"When you get a guy like Strop or a Kelvin Herrera or whatever that's coming in in like the seventh, you're going, 'This guy can be a closer on just about any other team and yet he's coming in this early in the game.'
"That spells doom for other teams. It's tough to overcome that later in the game."
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With all the days off built into the posteseason, teams can roll with their best relievers on a nightly basis.
Maddon likes to play matchups and ride the hot hand, but come October, he will have three very good options, as Chapman's presence has a domino effect on the rest of the relievers.
"That shortens the game," Zobrist said. "For the other team, when they're going up against that, they know that they only have so much time before the game is over in their minds mentally.
"If we have a lead going into the sixth, seventh inning, they're in trouble because they're going to have to face some of the best relievers in the game the last few innings.
"What [Chapman] does to our bullpen is just takes it to that next level where the game is at least an inning shorter."
Cubs fans got to see that play out in front of them at Wrigley Field Wednesday night as Rondon came in to throw a perfect eighth before Chapman blew the Sox away in the ninth.
And then again Thursday night against the White Sox as Strop pitched the seventh, Rondon got two outs in the eighth and then Chapman got the final four outs without any drama.
"You see the velocity that’s there," Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It’s tough, too, because you get one guy that’s right-handed and one guy that’s left-handed so you can use that to your advantage. You can flip it around if you want depending on who’s coming up. It’s a pretty good [bullpen]."
"They just know that it's hard to come back from a game when you're winning late in the game like that," Zobrist said. "It seems like an insurmountable lead when you got a couple guys at the back end of the bullpen like that."