This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.
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"The Cubs aren’t really doing any of those things. This sweep exposed their pitching staff, which was repeatedly unable to finish off Nationals hitters. The Cubs struck out just 21 men in 29 innings, and walked 15 (plus an intentional pass). In the critical seventh-inning rally on Sunday, Cubs relievers allowed hits on 0-2 and 2-2, and a walk on a 3-2 count. The game-winning rally in the 11th was keyed by a 3-2 double off Tyler Chatwood. Cubs’ relievers have a 22.8% strikeout rate, 12th in the NL and in a group of teams largely known for their bullpen failures this year. They desperately needed to miss bats in big spots yesterday, and couldn’t do it."