Cubs

Here's why Cubs fans should stop freaking out about the bullpen

Here's why Cubs fans should stop freaking out about the bullpen

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:

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.

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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.

MLB extends temporary financial support for minor leaguers

MLB extends temporary financial support for minor leaguers

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Major League Baseball has had to work through a number of logistical issues with no games taking place.

The owners and the MLB Players Association worked through a number of details on the major league level last week. Now, they have filtered some decisions down to the minors, as well.

MLB announced on Tuesday that minor league players will continue to be paid through the end of May. All players will continue to receive medical benefits.


Previously, MLB had provided interim support through April 8, which was the original starting date for the minor league season.

Baseball insiders Jeff Passan and Bob Nightengale had some insight as to what this means.


Minor leaguers don’t make big bucks, but this keeps a cash flow going to those players.


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Jon Lester's soccer career and other things to know about Cubs left-hander

Jon Lester's soccer career and other things to know about Cubs left-hander

Jon Lester is the best free agent addition in Cubs history, the guy who joined a last place club and helped push them to perennial contender status. He played a big part in the Cubs snapping their World Series drought, and even at 36 remains a durable, competitive starter.

Here’s a few things you may not know about the Cubs’ left-hander.

1. While playing in a soccer tournament in Italy at the age of 13, an Italian club approached Lester about playing professionally. He turned it down and the Red Sox drafted him five years later.

2. In August 2006, two months after making his MLB debut, Lester was diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He underwent chemotherapy in the 2006-07 offseason and returned to the Red Sox in July 2007.

3. Lester’s charity, NVRQT, works to raise awareness and funds to fight pediatric cancer. Lester was the Cubs’ 2019 Robert Clemente Award nominee for his charitable efforts.

4. In 2011, Lester was featured on a wine label produced by Longball Cellars. Proceeds from “CabernAce” benefited the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

5. Lester, an avid golfer, once shot an 81 at Augusta National, according to Golf Digest.

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