CHICAGO (670 The Score) – With the Cubs struggling in close games and their relievers combining to post a 4.50 ERA entering play Tuesday, president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer took the blame for the bullpen’s woes and the “tough spot” that he has put manager David Ross in.
“Whether it was (Andrew) Chafin and (Ryan) Tepera or (David) Robertson and (Chris) Martin, we have had all these different guys (in recent years) and we candidly had done a really good job of finding relievers who could come in here at a relatively low cost on one-year deals,” Hoyer said before the Cubs hosted the Mets. “We had been building our bullpens that way for a while. This year, that hasn't worked yet. That is on me. I put Rossy in a tough spot. It hasn't wound up the way we expected it to. We have power arms in the organization, and we will get there. That area has not been a success this year.”
The Cubs are 2-8 in one-run games this season, and their entire pitching staff struggled on their recent 2-7 road trip. The Cubs bullpen’s 4.50 ERA ranked 24th in MLB entering Tuesday.
Michael Fulmer, who signed with the Cubs in free agency, opened the season as the Cubs’ closer but has lost the job while posting a 7.58 ERA.
Keegan Thompson had a strong 2022 season but was recently demoted to Triple-A Iowa after posting a 4.22 ERA and struggling with his command. Brad Boxberger had a 5.52 ERA before landing on the injured list.
"Our bullpen is a collection of eight different guys in a given time period,” Hoyer said. “It's hard to talk about it as a singular thing. However, as a team, we have struggled from time to time in high-leverage situations both offensively and pitching wise. We have struggled to execute in late-inning situations. That is why are record isn't flipped or even better.
“We have a lot of depth in the minor leagues in bullpen arms. We will continue to look at those guys as they get healthier and perform well. In the bullpen, we think that can certainly happen. There have been times we had the wrong matchup at the wrong times. There were times we had absolutely the right matchup, and the same thing happened. We need that area of the team to stabilize. We will work with different matchups and potentially adding other guys until we get that area right. We have a lot of guys who could be quality relievers in the big leagues. It just takes time to get there."
Hoyer also spoke to the Cubs’ struggles on the whole as they sat at 20-26 entering play Tuesday.
“Right now, we are not getting the big hit in the right spot and the pitchers are not getting the right out in the right spot,” Hoyer said. “I think we have the personnel to do it, but right now we haven't done it yet. You are who your record says you are.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.
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