Rockies vs. Cubs: Joe Maddon sheds light on bullpen usage for NL Wild Card Game

CHICAGO — After the final out of the NL Central tiebreaker on Monday, the Cubs and manager Joe Maddon figured to have little bullpen certainty headed into the NL Wild Card Game against the Rockies. Just prior that elimination playoff game, things look clearer and, for the Cubs, much better. 

First and foremost, Pedro Strop is on the Cubs’ wild-card roster. Strop hasn’t pitched since Sept. 13, when he strained a hamstring while batting in a high-leverage situation (needless to say, it was a dubious decision on Maddon’s part). Strop during the regular season pitched to a 2.26 ERA in 59 2/3 innings with no unearned runs allowed and just four homers. Strop said following the loss to the Brewers he’d be ready to pitch against Colorado, and on Tuesday Maddon confirmed it saying, “Stroppy is doing well, and he’s able to play tonight.”

A reasonable concern would be whether Strop is 100 percent. It’s not an arm injury, but a hamstring strain is the sort of malady that can cause of pitcher to compensate by making small mechanical changes, unintentionally and sometimes imperceptibly. Maddon, though, sees no cause for concern or hesitation. “Going into this moment right now, the arm has been moving the whole time, so we don’t feel

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