Pedro Strop’s importance as fill-in closer

By: Alex Patt

The Chicago Cubs have certainly had some tough battles to fight when it comes to key injuries. As mentioned in a previous article, one of the key injuries to this team right now is closer Brandon Morrow. The 34 year-old righty has been out since the All Star break and has battled multiple injury problems throughout the season. It is unfortunate because when he has played, he has been really good. Seeing as he has converted 22 of 24 save opportunities and currently sports a 1.47 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 2.96 FIP in 30.2 innings.

Meanwhile, Theo Epstein did not stop adding depth to the pen before the deadline. Veterans Brandon Kintzler and Jesse Chavez were added to the mix to help a bullpen that has worked very hard and currently without their closer. Of course much credit has to go to Pedro Strop, who has pretty much solidified himself as one of the most consistently good relievers in franchise history. On top of his 2.74 ERA and 46 strikeouts, Strop now has eight saves on the season, including three in the past four days.

Strop prior to this season was never really a closer, mainly a set-up guy who had some save opportunities. His eight saves this year are by far a career-high. The past week or so, his services as temporary closer have been much needed. Even on Friday when the game almost got away from him, he was able to come back and lock it down. He was especially impressive in game one of the Kansas City series when he struck out two guys in a 1-2-3 inning.

While Strop is doing a good job closing games right now, Morrow still needs to comeback healthy. Having your primary closer in a playoff scenario is essential these days and hopefully he can get healthy soon. No real timetable on his return, so until then hopefully the Cubs can continue to get by without him.

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