How the Chicago Cubs went from pretenders to contenders

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Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

The bullpen really came through when needed…

Many pointed out that one of the weak points of the Chicago Cubs was the bullpen.

The Cubs’ bullpen spent most of the season in the top ten (or lower ten) in the number of blown saves. That does not exactly make you feel confident about the relief corps.

When you look at the numbers, though, the bullpen was pretty good.

They had a 3.38 ERA, which was eighth-best in MLB. Their FIP was 3.37, which was tops in baseball. Their 8.94 strikeouts-per-nine-innings rate was seventh in the league, and their 2.79 strikeouts-per-walks ratio was ninth-best in baseball.

The Cubs’ closer, Hector Rondon, has been very good. He had a 1.67 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. He recorded 30 saves in 34 save opportunities.

These are pretty good stats for a bullpen most considered a liability.

Some of the guys in the bullpen also sacrificed their egos for the good of the team, like Castro did.

Travis Wood was an All Star a couple of years ago, but had struggled since. Maddon asked Wood to come out of the bullpen, and he has come in and done a very good job. He is one of Maddon’s most dependable relievers.

Rondon himself was yanked from the closer’s job when he was shaky back in June. Instead of sulking, he came back and got his job back and has been effective.

The guys in the bullpen turned their season around from where they were early in the season, and the team has transformed because of that.

In the series-clinching win against the St. Louis Cardinals, the bullpen went six innings, allowing just two runs. They struck out TWELVE Cardinals hitters in that game.

This is how the 2015 Chicago Cubs became the powerhouse team they are now. No one expected this to happen, and as the season started, there was no sign that this team would become favorites to contend for the World Series, let alone win it.

Let’s see if they can finish the job.

Next: Chicago Cubs Vanquishing Demons On Their Way To History

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