Ubaldo Jimenez's encore: 7.1 shutout innings

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Ubaldo Jimenez put on quite an encore performance Thursday, following his no-hitter by shutting out the Nationals for 7.1 innings. Jimenez allowed five hits and two walks while improving to 4-0 with a 0.95 ERA, although Jim Tracy letting him throw 121 pitches after needing 127 pitches for the no-hitter is worrisome.
He also threw 115 pitches in the start preceding the no-hitter, so Jimenez’s workload is piling up as he dominates. He topped 100 pitches in 29 of 33 starts last season, including 115 or more in 10 outings, but went beyond 120 pitches just twice and until now had never had back-to-back 120-pitch starts in his career.

Brandon Morrow shut down for the rest of the season

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Cubs closer Brandon Morrow has been out since the All-Star break with a bone bruise and biceps inflammation. In recent days there had been hope that he would be activated in the season’s final two weeks in order to be ready for the playoffs, but that’s not happening: Theo Epstein just said that Morrow is done for the season.

It’s not the first time good expectations for Morrow’s recovery were not met. When he was placed on the DL back in July manager Joe Maddon said he didn’t anticipate Morrow being on the DL for much more than the minimum 10 days. Two months later and here we are.

Morrow, 34, had an excellent season until the arm trouble started, saving 22 games with a 1.47 ERA and a 31/9 K/BB ratio in 30.2 innings. Once he went out the closer’s duties fell to Pedro Strop. Now Strop too is out for at least the rest of the regular season and likely more due to a hamstring strain he suffered last week while running the bases.

Bullpens become a lot more important in the postseason. The Cubs’ bullpen is becoming thinner.