FanPost

Thriving or dying with this year's bullpen

It appears the offense for the most part has been resurrected scoring 93 runs since the All Star Break leading the team to a 11-4 break out. The starting pitching despite injuries has been there all year where a rookie surprise in Wells has stabilized the stars of Zambrano, Lilly, Dempster and Harden. Adding a young veteran in Gorzelanny will hopefully keep the situation ordered until Lilly returns later this month, hopefully fully recovered. The issue is the bullpen isn't it?


Gregg has surpassed most of this community's expectations with a workmanlike performance closing games. Marmol has been shaky as last night exhibited, we thought he was there in that most part this portion of July  where he seemed to have the lights-out stuff. Marshall has evolved into his role exceptionally well where only a few inherented baserunners have scored. Guzman has developed well and and as long as remains healthy he is solid middle reliever. But then there is the inconsistent and frustrating Heilman, good stuff that moves---often out of the strike zone--- often maddening! 

Therefore in my mind the Cubs have three consistent performers and two roll of the dice. Now we add Grabow a lefty that is not really a LOOGY, much like Marshall but effective. So that is six veterans for now. That then leaves Stevens or Samardzija in the long reliever role for now. When Lilly returns just before the rosters increase in September one could at least see the plan to be Gorzelanny in that long reliever role.

The question than is will the Cubs thrive or die with this year's bullpen? It comes back to the maddening and frustrating members of this crew, Marmol and Heilman. If one or both actually find themselves to be consistent the Cubs should be able to close the final two months playing .600 or better ball.

Finally I pulled up the opening day roster and Cubs have removed Vizcaino (waived), Cotts (AAA) and Patton is nicely snuggled away on the DL, adding Marshall from the starters, now Grabow and either Samardzija or Stevens. We have seen Atkins, Waddel & Berg come up and have a cup of MLB coffee, traded Ascanio & Hart who spent some time up here, and then there is Chad Fox who came up and got hurt almost like how the Sun comes up every day over Lake Michigan. But as I look at the situation now this bullpen is in better shape than it was all year.

Only Stevens and Wells are really rookies, Stevens looks promising and Wells, well what thankful return from RULE V he has been. Gorzelanny appears to have at least one more, possibly two years left before free agency while Grabow appears to be in his final arbitration year. Long term the Cubs seem to have some bullpen stability as well and at least for now more than a pair of lefties.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of SB Nation or Al Yellon, managing editor (unless it's a FanPost posted by Al). FanPost opinions are valued expressions of opinion by passionate and knowledgeable baseball fans.

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