Nationals vs Mets

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Nationals vs Mets Live : National League East rivals with their eyes on a division crown help get the Thursday MLB schedule underway. It’s a 1:10 p.m. ET first pitch between the Washington Nationals and New York Mets at Citi Field. Before locking in any Nationals vs Mets picks of your own on Thursday.

There are *multiple* days of snow possible in Chicago’s 10-day forecast. The Cubs still cannot really throw strikes and haven’t won since Opening Day. Eloy’s hitting .133 with six strikeouts in 17 plate apperances. This is *not* what we were promised.

This brings us to our powerful rankings. These Power Rankings were not kind to Chicago teams this week, as the White Sox dropped a few spots but the Cubs took a TUMBLE. I’m sorry, fans, I cannot help you. The rankings are so powerful that they have a mind of their own.

Want to see just how far the Cubs fell? Want to see how your non-Chicago team fared? Want to just peruse to feel consuming anger? Stop kidding yourselves — Craig Kimbrel wouldn’t magically solve all of the Cubs’ bullpen issues.

Even if the elite closer (who is still a free agent, by the way) walked through the door of the Cubs locker room tomorrow, that doesn’t suddenly make this one of the best bullpens in the game. And it sure doesn’t change anything in the standings — the Cubs can’t retroactively add three more wins to their record.

Five games into 2019, the Cubs don’t have a closer problem. They have a problem getting the ball to the closer.

On Saturday in Texas, the Cubs gave up the lead in the 8th inning when Carl Edwards Jr. served up a 3-run homer to Joey Gallo. On Sunday, it was Tyler Chatwood and Mike Montgomery giving up 4 runs in the 7th inning and then Pedro Strop throwing a wild pitch in the 9th to give the Rangers a walk-off win.

Then Wednesday, it was Steve Cishek who walked the first three hitters in the 8th inning before Randy Rosario was tagged for a 3-run double.

Kimbrel would not have stopped any of those three bullpen meltdowns and the only part he may have been able to help was Sunday’s game in that he likely would’ve pitched the 9th inning of a 10-10 tie instead of Strop.

But these guys — Edwards, Strop, Cishek — are supposed to be the guys. Even if Kimbrel was around or Brandon Morrow was back from injury, that wouldn’t immediately have a positive trickle-down effect on the rest of the bullpen.

Nobody predicted Cishek would walk 3 batters in a row. Edwards has faded down the stretch the last couple years, but he has been lights-out at the start of each season and was coming off a fantastic spring. Strop has been the Cubs’ most consistent member of the bullpen for more than a half-decade and is one of the more underrated relievers in all of baseball.

This is a system-wide failure in the bullpen right now. The Cubs’ problems go well beyond the closer. Kimbrel isn’t signing on and throwing 3 innings every night.

Sure, if the Cubs had Kimbrel, Joe Maddon could’ve called Strop’s number for the 8th inning, maybe things don’t get out of hand and the Cubs improve their record to 2-3. But Cishek is one of the most trusted relievers and for good reason — he had a 2.18 ERA and 1.04 WHIP last year even including late-season struggles. And he had been dominant (4 Ks, only 1 hit allowed in 1.2 innings prior to Wednesday).

Kimbrel or no Kimbrel, that doesn’t change the fact that even reliable relievers are failing to come through for the Cubs right now. It doesn’t matter what name Maddon calls and it wouldn’t matter who he has back there waiting for the 9th inning. The Cubs haven’t even gotten to the 9th with a lead since Opening Day.