Pittsburgh Pirates v. Chicago Cubs – The Bullpen

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Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Late Inning:

Pirates: Tony Watson, Joakim Soria

Cubs: Pedro Strop, Fernando Rodney

Tony Watson has been one of the absolute best relievers in baseball since 2013 and made the All Star Team in 2014 and honestly he’s been even better this season. The matter of fact lefty just takes the ball and does his job every time he’s called upon. He had a rough first appearance in 2015, but since then he’s been outstanding. He has a 1.91ERA/2.84FIP with a minuscule WHIP of 0.956. There is no setup in baseball better than Tony Watson and he could easily be a closer on almost any team. He’s a great arm out of Clint Hurdle’s bullpen and has been as close to automatic as anyone in the game.

Joakim Soria was brought over in a trade with the Tigers and despite making some of his outings a little nerve-wracking, he has been more than solid in the seventh, eighth and sometimes ninth inning for the Pirates. As a Pirate, he’s pitched to a 2.03ERA/1.93FIP with 9.5 strikeouts per nine. His 2015 totals are also very good with a 2.53ERA/3.71FIP. He’s mostly been a closer in his recent career, so he gives Clint Hurdle a fantastic extra arm out of the pen since he can be used comfortably in the seventh, eighth or ninth inning.

Pirates Late Inning Totals: 1.97ERA/2.38FIP

Pedro Strop has been a tremendous setup man for the Cubs this season and has been great ever since he put on a Chicago uniform in 2013. However in 2015 especially he’s been fantastic, pitching to a 2.91ERA/3.16FIP and striking out 10.7 per nine. He’s appeared in 76 games and has been effective in shortening the game for Joe Maddon and could definitely be a closer on a lot of teams in the league. Strop has also saved three games for the Cubs in 2015 and has just been a reliable and consistent arm.

Fernando Rodney was one of the best closers in the league during his time with the Tampa Bay Rays, but upon going to Seattle, he was very up and down and didn’t seem worth the money he was paid, however since he’s put on the Cubs uniform he has been tremendous and pitched his way into a valuable late inning role. He has a 0.75ERA/3.47FIP with the Cubs. The ERA is a far cry from how he pitched for Seattle when he put up a 5.68ERA/5.27FIP. A change of scenery did wonders for Rodney and he’s rewarded the Cubs by pitching even better than he did when he was with the Rays.

Cubs Late Inning Totals: 1.83ERA/3.31FIP.

Verdict: Pedro Strop and Tony Watson are both so ridiculous good for their respective teams and if it was just these two, I’d be very hard pressed to give this a push, but I have to go advantage Pirates since Joakim Soria has been much more consistent than Fernando Rodney this season. I just trust Soria and Watson to bridge the game than I trust Rodney and Strop.

Next: Closers