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The 12 Days of Cubsmas, Day 10: Ten Strop saves

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Pedro Strop was excellent as a closer and may get another shot in 2019

Pedro Strop after striking out Ian Desmond in the Wild Card Game
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Cubs were tied with the Red Sox and Astros for seventh in the majors with 46 saves in 2018. However, unlike the Red Sox, who relied primarily on primarily on Craig Kimbrel for those saves (he had 42) the Cubs looked more like the Astros who relied on a committee of closers including Hector Rondon, Ken Giles and Roberto Osuna. In the Cubs instance that committee looked like Brandon Morrow, Pedro Strop and <insert guy to step up here>. The following relievers all had at least one save in 2018: Morrow, Strop, Jesse Chavez, Steve Cishek, Jorge De La Rosa, Randy Rosario, and Brian Duensing.

I’ll be transparent, Strop actually had 13 saves in 2018, which was barely beyond the cutoff for Cubsmas, but #HatsLeft did such a great job this season it really wouldn’t be Cubsmas without him. So today I am going to celebrate the final 10 Strop saves that made 2018 awesome.

July 25: Strop gets the save with the tying run on second

After getting the first out with a fly ball to Heyward, Paul Goldschmidt did Paul Goldschmidt things and hit a double to right. That put the tying run on base for the rest of the game, but Strop was unfazed. He got a shallow fly ball to center and a routine ground ball to short to finish off the save. Let’s hope he can do more of that with or without Goldschmidt on second in 2019 [VIDEO].

July 29: Strop stops the Cardinals

The Cubs had dropped two against the Cardinals but managed to win the final game on Sunday Night Baseball to avoid the sweep. This was a pretty uneventful outing from Strop, but I know you like watching the Cardinals lose as much as I do, so let’s check it out [VIDEO].

August 3: Strop gets out of a jam

The Cubs entered the ninth inning of this game with a 5-2 lead and ended up winning the game with a 5-4 lead. Let’s just say this ninth inning was adventurous, but 26 pitches later, Strop had the save. First, Ian Happ was a bit short on a Cory Spangenberg double that made the score 5-3 [VIDEO]:

Then Travis Jankowski hit a fielder’s choice, and Anthony Rizzo opted for the out at first allowing the fourth run to score [VIDEO].

Honestly, this play by David Bote to get the second out at the plate still blows my mind. I hope Strop bought him dinner that night [VIDEO].

Strop looked truly relieved to K Austin Hedges and complete the save [VIDEO]:

August 4: Strop goes back to back

This was Strop’s second save in a row against the Padres. After he’d thrown 26 pitches in his last 5-4 victory, I was a little surprised to see him out there the next day. Luckily, this inning was a lot easier than his outing on August 3. A routine ground out and two Ks were all Strop needed to close this one down. The final breaking ball in the game is a beauty [VIDEO].

August 6: A hot shot and a couple of Ks

Anthony Rizzo made a nice grab up the line at first that he threw to Strop for the first out, but the other two were classic Strop Ks and as the rain started to fall in Kansas City Strop got his eighth save of the season [VIDEO].

August 10: A couple fly balls and a K

This was a close game between the Cubs and the Nationals at Wrigley in August. Strop came in to save the game with the Cubs up 3-2. He gave up a hard hit long out to right, followed it up with an out to left and then let Adam Eaton reach first on an error. Luckily that error didn’t matter as he he struck out Trea Turner to end the game and secure the save [VIDEO].

August 16: A save and a staredown

With the Cubs clinging to a 1-0 lead against the Pirates, Strop entered the game in the ninth and promptly struck out Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco on some nasty pitches, but then he got into a bit of trouble which led to my favorite mound visit of 2018:

Strop got the message and it just seems fitting that the final out of the game went to Rizzo who took it to the bag to end the game [VIDEO].

August 30: Strop gets by with a little help from his friends

This 5-4 win over the Braves was locked down by a combination of Strop on the mound and Javier Baez at short stop. Javy made the plays for all three outs. On the second out in particular Javy made a catch in shallow center that very few other players make [VIDEO].

September 5: Strop gets in a jam, but gets out of it

The Cubs were in a bit of trouble with two on and no outs when his defense picked him up to retire two Brewers on what could easily be hits. However, the classic Strop celebration when he Ks Curtis Granderson to finish the game is probably my favorite part of this [VIDEO]:

September 11: Strop’s last save of 2018, with a little help from his defense

This was Strop’s last save of 2018 and once again he needed a bit of help from his defense. Addison Russell’s stop in the gap at short and Rizzo saving his throw by doing the splits in particular is a thing of beauty. He finished it up with a K of Jonathan Schoop on a nasty pitch and a patented Strop celebration [VIDEO].

It looks increasingly likely that Strop will be the Cubs closer on opening day in 2019. Here’s hoping he has a lot more games like these in him.

On the tenth day of Cubsmas my true love gave to me ten Strop saves, nine incredible outfield plays, eight runners picked off, a seven game winning streak, six Rizzo steals (and so much more), five comeback wins, four postseason appearances in a row, three epic relief appearances, two walkoff grand slams, and a Javy MVP candidate.