The Chicago Cubs have one of the best home records and one of the worst road records, and they have the best run differential in their division. People seem to be scratching their head over how the same team can be so good at home and so bad on the road. The problem is not the hitting, although they could be more consistent. To me the problem is the bullpen, they are giving up too many runs in the 6 thru 9th innings. Nobody in the pen is reliable.
Twenty years ago the bullpen wasn’t so important because starting pitchers pitched more innings and more often completed games. Now, starting pitchers are only expected to pitch six innings and that means you got have more pitching than ever before.
The Cubs overall pitching staff is not good enough. You might see an uptick in performance if they make the playoffs because the starters tend to go longer and you tend to narrow the pen down to a handful of pitchers, but I don’t expect the Cubs to get beyond be first round if they do make the playoffs.
I don’t know what specific things the Cubs need to do for next year. I don’t think the problem is with the managing or coaching, it seems to point to the talent in pitching. Lester and Hamel will be a year older and there doesn’t appear to be any replacements coming from the minors. The window on the talent the Cubs do have is getting smaller and it will be a shame if they only make it to one World Series.