Pittsburgh Pirates v. Chicago Cubs – The Bullpen

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Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates won 98 games and the Chicago Cubs won 97, so it’s no secret that these two teams are extremely even in most categories and the bullpen is no different. However I think there’s a reason the Pirates have the best bullpen ERA in the league with a 2.67ERA and have allowed the second fewest bullpen earned runs in the league. While the Cubs have the fourth best bullpen ERA at 3.38 and the sixth fewest bullpen earned runs at 193.

The bullpen is a huge strength for the Pirates and if the game comes down to a battle of the bullpens I really like the Pirates’ chances. The formula of Soria, Watson and Melancon may be the best 1-2-3 in all of baseball and if Cole can give the Pirates six innings and leave with a lead, I would feel extremely confident in the Pirates’ chances to move onto the NLDS. The Cubs are no slouches either, in the battle of the bullpens, the Pirates are king as they have arguable the best bullpen in all of baseball. It’s very hard to compete with that.

Much has been published about the starting pitchers in the NL Wildcard game and for good reason, but more often than not, bullpens decide playoff games and in almost any matchup the Pirates would have a clear advantage and this game is no different. The Cubs have a tremendous bullpen of their own, but no team in baseball is better than the Pirates. If the Royals taught us anything in 2014 it’s that you can ride a talented bullpen all the way to the World Series.

Next: Pittsburgh Pirates v. Chicago Cubs - The Outfielders