The seventh inning proves to be the worst for Cubs’ pitchers.
They’ve allowed opponents to score 74 runs in the frame, including the Reds’ 9-run inning Friday and 8-run explosion Sunday.
The next worst inning is the first…opponents scoring 57 runs. Then it’s the eighth inning, having allowed 51 runs.
No surprise the late innings are a problem given the loss of Angel Guzman and the promotion of three rookies to round out a young, thin, and inexperienced bullpen.
Then, of course, there’s Jeff Samardzija’s lack of development…a worn-out Bob Howry…and the forgotten about Esmailin Caridad, leaving no wonder why the Cubs can’t get a lead to Marshall and Marmol.
But middle relief has been a glaring weakness since spring training, only long overshadowed by the ineptitude of the Cubs’ offense.
If I’m Jim Hendry…bullpen arms are at the top of my trade list.