The Cubs Bullpen: A Horror Story

The Cubs Bullpen: A Horror Story

Watching Brian Schlitter and Company destroy the Cubs’ lead against the Pirates Tuesday night was just another reminder of how bad this bullpen has been over the years. It’s almost as if they think, “Oh, you have a five-run lead? Not anymore!” and all hell typically breaks loose.

So while we were all hailing Schlitter the newest disaster the other night, let’s take a look back at some other bullpen pitchers who made us scream, cry, throw things, give up all hope in life, you get the idea.

Antonio Alfonseca

El Pulpo. The Octopus. Yeah, the guy with the sixth finger, remember him?. You’d think that sixth finger would help him get control of the ball. Nope. Alfonseca is in? Home runs for everyone!

LaTroy Hawkins

Nine blown saves for the Cubs in 2007 alone. NINE. Nothing like having your closer undo the starting pitcher’s work. But thanks for serving up that home run to Dexter Fowler in Colorado earlier this month to give the Cubs the lead in the ninth inning. That was one save certainly worth blowing.

Carlos Marmol

Who could forget our boy Marmol? The Cubs could have an unimaginable lead, seemingly impossible to lose, but Marmol would almost always find a way to get the job done. Arguably one of the most disliked players on the Northside of recent times, the right-handed closer was always the go-to-guy for manager Dale Sveum. Needless to say bringing Marmol in to close the game rarely ever worked out well for the Cubs.

Brian Schlitter

The dreaded bullpen pitcher of 2015 seems to be Brian Schlitter as of now. In seven games this season, Schlitter has given up six earned runs in just over five innings pitched. Chances are when you see the big bearded guy with the long hair coming from the bullpen, you change the channel because it’s probably going to get ugly.

Who else would you add to this list of painful memories?

*Note: Edwin Jackson was not added to this list because he is still fairly new to the bullpen. And it didn’t hurt that he was the only relief pitcher to get through an inning against the Pirates with no problem on Tuesday night. This may change as the season progresses.


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  • Don't forget Rick Aguilera.

  • How can you forget about Jose Veras who had an ERA+ of 48 and a FIP of 6.28 in only 12 games?

  • The blame also seems to be placed on the starting pitchers, especially Lester, who couldn't get into the 6th inning and overtaxed the bullpen, resulting in the bullpen being crummy the next night.

    Marmol was easy to to diagnose--he was always wild and the question was whether the batter was dumb enough to swing at something that was heading to the screen. Apparently, a sufficient number were.

    And as was pointed out in the Colorado series, Hawkins is still pitching, although his current ERA is 10.50.

    However, I can't figure out why each time has a minimum of 3 big bearded guys. Have ZZ Top and Duck Dynasty taken over the portion of baseball not dominated by Dominicans? When did Travis Wood get so hairy? It can't be like hockey, as these players are being prevented from winning the World Series for reasons other than shaving.

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    In reply to jack:

    Haha! That's a good point with the beards! Look at the Red Sox: they all look like they just walked out of Duck Dynasty and they pride themselves on that during their playoff runs! Whatever makes you happy, I suppose...

  • In reply to Stephanie Lynn:

    At least it is a playoff superstition. About 24 of the 30 clubs are nowhere near the playoffs. Heck, I forgot about Motte, who probably meets both the caveman and mediocre reliever criteria.

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