The Chicago Cubs have had an up and down year all season long. After going 15-5 in 20 games from the end of May to the beginning of June, the Cubs have come back down to Earth. They are just 4-6 in their last 10 games including losing two of three against the Miami Marlins.
Even though the Cubs are not as hot as they were a month ago, their pitching has still been solid, especially in the bullpen. The Northsiders are one of only two teams that has a bullpen ERA of less than 3.00, the San Diego Padres are the other.
Nonetheless, the Chicago Cubs have had one of the best bullpens in the league, if not the best. Their bullpen has an ERA of 2.63, which is the best in baseball. Additionally, the Cubs bullpen ranks second in K/9 (10.95), third in HR/9 (0.75), fourth in WAR, wins above replacement, (3.2) and tied for first in losses (6).
Simply put, the Cubs bullpen has been lights out this season. This is a major reason why the Northersiders are 41-33 to start the season.
On the other hand, the Chicago Cubs’ starting pitching hasn’t been as solid as the bullpen. After losing Yu Darvish, Jon Lester and Jose Quintana this offseason, Chicago’s starting rotation has suffered a bit. Their starting pitchers rank 19th in ERA (4.63), 26th in K/9 (7.65), 30th in WAR (1.3) and 21st in BB/9 (3.25).
The Cubs starting pitchers have been the complete opposite of the bullpen. However, one of the few bright spots of Chicago’s rotation is Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks currently has a record of 10-4 with a 3.84 ERA. No other starting pitcher has an ERA of less than 4.15.
Here is a look at which Cubs pitchers could make the All-Star game at Coors Field in Colorado.
1. Craig Kimbrel (RHP)
Craig Kimbrel is almost a lock to make his eighth All-Star appearance. The former Boston Red Sox has been phenomenal for the Cubs this season. He currently is 1-2 with a 0.61 ERA and 20 saves.
Kimbrel currently ranks second in the league in saves only behind Padres’ closer Mark Melancon. In the 30 appearances for the seven-time All-Star, he has only given up two earned runs. Furthermore, he has struck out 49 batters and conceded just one home run.
After a terrible 2019 and 2020 season for Kimbrel where he had a combined 5.91 ERA, the 6-foot right-hander has bounced back nicely. He is now a pivotal closer for the Cubs, something that the Northsiders haven’t had in a long time.
As a result, Kimbrel should be playing in Colorado at the All-Star game. It would a complete shock if he were not chosen to be a part of the National League squad.
2. Ryan Tepera (RHP)
Ryan Tepera has a great chance to make his first All-Star appearance this season. Although this isn’t as much of a lock as Kimbrel, the 33-year-old right-hander could make a case to make it.
Tepera is Chicago’s most reliable bullpen guy. He has appeared in 34 games, the most on the Cubs. He also ranks ninth in the MLB in appearances and third in the National League. Furthermore, he ranks tied for seventh amongst relief pitchers in the National League in WAR (1.0).
In 35 2/3 innings of work, the 6-foot-1 right-hander has 40 strikeouts only allowing eight earned runs. He currently sits with a 0-0 record, 2.02 ERA and one save. Tepera is Chicago’s go-to guy in the seventh and eighth innings when they need outs.
The right-hander is one of only two pitchers in the National League this season to earn reliever of the month. Tepera earned NL reliever of the month in May after posting a 0.61 ERA and 0 walks in 14 appearances. He has been one of the best relief pitchers this season, so he should expect an invite to his first All-Star game.
Image Courtesy of nbcsports.com
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