Much has been made lately (well, all season really) of the maligned Cubs bullpen and its struggles. While this is true, I thought it interesting while browsing the ESPN GameCast to look at our bullpen real quick statistically. Closing games has been a huge problem, as the scrambles for a new closer have proven, but in reality, we're not doing that badly. (Or are we?)
BULLPEN IN BRIEF
Will Ohman -- 2-0, 0.00 ERA//10 APP, 6 2/3 IP, BAA .217
Cliff Bartosh -- 0-2, 2.13 ERA//10 APP, 12 2/3 IP, BAA .209
Todd Wellemeyer -- 0-0, SV, 2.00 ERA//7 APP, 9 IP, BAA .212
Michael Wuertz -- 1-1, 3.72 ERA//20 APP, 19 1/3 IP, BAA .203
Mike Remlinger -- 0-1, 4.63 ERA//15 APP, 11 2/3 IP, BAA .205
LaTroy Hawkins -- 1-4, 4 SV, 3.52 ERA//17 APP, 15 1/3 IP, BAA .241
*Ryan Dempster -- 2-3, SV, 5.50 ERA//9 APP, 37 2/3 IP, BAA .291
The Ugly/Needs to Improve
Chad Fox -- 0-0, SV, 6.75 ERA//11 APP, 8 IP, BAA .276 --- On the DL
* includes stats as starter, so not entirely indicative of bullpen performance
From looking at it in this respect, it isn't as grave as with some other teams and their bullpens (Pittsburgh, KC, Colorado, Cincinnati, Seattle, Texas, San Francisco... the list is lengthy), and despite the number of losses in there (having mentioned the Cubs are 7-9 in 1-run games this season... 16 of 37 games decided by 1 run!), these "blowups" have not been as catastrophic as, say Danny Graves blowing two huge Reds leads in the 9th Inning, or even Octavio Dotel's recent woes vs. the Red Sox.
I'm definitely feeling better about our relief pitching upon looking at all of this. It says a lot that our bullpen has collectively lost 6 or 7 games, and yet their ERAs are so mid-range/below 4.00..... says as much about a lack of offense in these close games (like right now - 2-1 in the 8th inning) as it does about the bullpen's inability to keep the Cubs in the game.
I would apportion a fair bit of blame on the shoulders of Hollandsworth, Barrett, Patterson, Macias, Dubois, Blanco etc etc as I would on Hawkins -- granted he is there to "close" the game out when we're ahead, but scoring 2 or 3 runs in an entire game would trouble even the game's best 9th Inning pitchers, right?
Anyone have any thoughts on this?