Five Major Questions for the 2016 Chicago Cubs

MLB.TV

Can the rotation additions take pressure off the bullpen?

In 2015 the bullpen had its struggles. Starters Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, Jason Hammel, and Kyle Hendricks started out strong, but had periods where leads were lost and the seventh through ninth innings were shaky. This evened out later in the year, featuring strong performances from relievers Travis Wood, Trevor Cahill, Clayton Richard and what Joe Maddon dubbed his “middle closer” Justin Grimm. Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon were lights out for much of September and October.

Can the new, stronger rotation, with the addition of John Lackey and Adam Warren to the mix, count on the bullpen through the entire season? Despite some amazing talent that has served in the Chicago pen over the years, they have had (very literally) the worst bullpen in baseball over the past 20 years. The data is HERE, in a piece written by Michael Cerami over at Bleacher Nation.

Joe Maddon is very creative with his bullpen, and not hesitant to pull a starter and hand the game over to them – or even let them pitch it from the first inning. When the final starting rotation is set, a question the Cubs have to answer is – how do we continue what we started last fall and break a rotten tradition that has contributed to a lack of playoff love for two decades.

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