Pedro Strop out for the rest of the regular season, rest of bullpen ready

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As Joe Maddon put it, the Cubs may have won the battle on Thursday in Washington, D.C., but the hope is that they won't lose the war in the process.

The team announced before Friday's game that the results of Pedro Strop's MRI revealed a moderate left hamstring strain, effectively ending his regular season. It's possible that he could return for the playoffs, but no definite timetable is set.

Strop had been covering for Brandon Morrow, who has been on the disabled list since July 18, as the de facto closer and doing the job with aplomb, but now it's time for the rest of his 'pen mates to step up.

"To be without him the next couple weeks is going to be difficult, there’s no question," Maddon said. "Who gets the last three outs will depend on what happens before that, and we’ll see how it all shakes out. It’s a tough spot to be in, but we’ll have to figure it out."

Maddon pointed out that the Cubs already have several arms in the bullpen with closing experience. Namely, Justin Wilson, Steve Cishek, and Jesse Chavez, the latter having already picked up 9th inning appearances for the Cubs.

With a 1.5 game lead on the Brewers and roughly two weeks to play, losing even a stand-in closer is hardly ideal. Pedro Strop has been a fortress in the Cubs bullpen for several years, providing not just quality high-leverage innings, but also some of the intangibles that help the rest of the team.

"His leadership, his calmness, he brings energy," Anthony Rizzo said Friday, describing the impact just having Strop active has on the team.

Maddon will have to manage his bullpen piecemeal at least until Morrow is back, and that could still be about a week. Morrow is throwing a sim game on Saturday, and then he and the team will determine things from there. 

As a whole, the Cubs have already had to overcome injuries to Yu Darvish, Kris Bryant, Morrow, and most recently, outfielders Kyle Schwarber and Jason Heyward. Regardless, Rizzo said that the team is far from discouraged.

"What, are we just going to punt? Send special teams out and punt? We’re playing for another ring," Rizzo said. "Hopefully we can weather this storm, and I believe that we have guys that can step up and get outs in big situations."

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