9/15/2018 0 Comments
By: Daniel Wilkins
PAUL SULLIVAN/CHICAGO TRIBUNE
Pedro Strop, the on-and-off closer for the Cubs, racking up 13 saves for Chicago this season, has been shut down for the rest of the regular season because of a moderate strain in his left hamstring. Whether he will pitch in the playoffs is unclear, but it depends on the quality of the closer that the Cubs choose for the next 16 games.
At the start of the season, Brandon Morrow, the Cubs’ free-agent pickup, accumulated 22 saves for the club, until he was put on the disabled list on July 18 with a bone bruise in his right arm, and hasn’t been back. Reports speculate that Morrow may return as early as September 21st, for the Cubs-White Sox battle, but that day is not here yet, so we just have to see.
The Cubs, while not being at the bottom of the barrel, haven’t been very lucky with avoiding injuries. Japanese star Yu Darvish has been on the DL since late May. Drew Smyly, another free-agent signing during the offseason for Chicago, hasn’t even pitched one game in a Chicago uniform, because he’s been recovering from left elbow surgery since February. Jason Heyward has been on the 10-day DL with right hamstring tightness since August 31st.
While avoiding injuries may seem easy, Joe Maddon, the Cubs manager, has seemed to run into them a lot. With Strop’s injury, this was a prime example of that. Strop got injured because he was put in a situation that can cause a higher risk of injury.
Pedro Strop, in the top of the 10th inning, with a 4-3 lead vs. the Washington Nationals, was asked to bat. He hit a line drive to third base, resulting in Strop, who was trying to avoid a double play, was injured while running the bases. Here are three ways that this injury could’ve been easily avoided:
It’s widely agreed that this injury was easily avoidable. The Cubs, just a week or two ago, were running away with the lead, about 5 or 6 games up on second place Milwaukee. But, the Brew Crew has been on a hot streak, 8-2 in their last ten games. On the other hand, the Cubbies are only 4-6, now 1.5 games up on the rivals from Wisconsin. With Strop’s injury, the Cubs’ playoff expectations, will only get worse from here.
The big question is, who will be the closer moving forward? Joe Maddon has said that he will work things based off of game situations, so, in that case he as a few options, and I’ve ranked them from best to worst.