Five games into the season you might already be freaking out like most Cubs fans about the 2-3 start and back-to-back shutout losses. We are here to tell you that not only will the Cubs be fine because it’s early, but the one main cause of losses over the past two seasons, relief pitching, has finally found strong success in a small sample size this season. It’s just five games in, but we have a pretty good idea what this season could hold for our bullpen, and it looks pretty good.
With eight extra innings combined in two games against the Marlins, the innings pitched for the bullpen is actually a fairly debatable number on why this could finally be the best Cubs bullpen we’ve seen in the Maddon era. Through 26.0 innings this season, a combined 8 relievers have gone 2-1 with a 0.72 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. To compare those numbers to last year’s relief numbers, the Cubs are definitely going in the right direction for their bullpen.
Steve Cishek an offseason addition, posted very good numbers in Spring Training which have translated over to this season. Cishek has appeared in 2 contests, posting 3.0 innings with just one hit allowed and 3 strikeouts.
Eddie Butler who was one of the last to make the 25-man roster put together a spectacular performance in the Cubs crazy 17-inning game against the Marlins. Butler pitched 7.0 innings with just 4 hits and 1 run to go along with 5 strikeouts, which would equate to a quality start in baseball, although MLB does not give out those to relievers.
Mike Montgomery who had his struggles last season has had a nice start to this year, with 3 appearances tallying 3.0 innings of baseball with just two hits allowed. Montgomery currently owns the best WHIP on the team of 0.67.
Justin Wilson who many thought was going to be the closer before Brandon Morrow, also has had a very nice start to the season. Wilson has appeared in 3 games, pitching 3 2/3 innings, allowing just one hit, and striking out 5.
Brian Duensing has strung together three nice outings this season. Duensing has posted 3 2/3 innings of two-hit baseball to go along with 4 Ks.
The Cubs bullpen is revamped. It’s loaded with great talent and three potential closers. This group of relievers has a fantastic chance of becoming one of the best in the Joe Maddon, Cubs era. The bullpen in 2015, 2016, and 2017 has been the key in potentially holding back the Cubs from big things, Aroldis Chapman solved that problem in ’16 and you know what happened from there.