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Strop's scoreless streak reaches eight games for Cubs

DENVER -- For a club with one of the highest bullpen ERAs in the Majors, Pedro Strop has been a savior for the Cubs.

Strop got the final two outs of the eighth Friday with runners on first and second, the leftovers of Jeff Samardzija's otherwise stellar start, to preserve the Cubs' lead in an eventual 3-1 win. It was Strop's eighth consecutive scoreless appearance (6 2/3 innings), a streak dating to July 4, when he debuted for the Cubs after a trade with Baltimore.

"It helps when you have a guy like Strop and a guy that can come in and do what he did last night with his slider and velocity," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "You turn into not just outs, but a team not being able to move runners up and add on the one run when a guy can strike guys out with his stuff."

Early-season struggles in Baltimore gave Strop a 7.25 ERA before his move to the National League.

Sveum said Strop is a candidate to share ninth-inning duties with closer Kevin Gregg. Strop has no saves this year, but in the manager's eyes, he has the right arsenal to at least see some time pitching in the ninth.

"Those are the kind of guys you want to throw out there, a guy that ... has a good time when he's on the mound, not scared of anything," Sveum said. "It's just a nice asset to have."

Strop started his career in the Rockies organization. Signed by Colorado in 2002, he played for the Rockies' Class A and Double-A affiliates before moving to Texas and then Baltimore.

Strop was initially projected as a shortstop with the Rockies before he transitioned to the mound, a move Rockies manager Walt Weiss, who worked with him in the Minors, was not so sure of at the time.

"When they converted him to pitcher, I was like, 'I don't know, man,'" Weiss said. "But he struggled at hitting and tried to switch-hit. He was a good looking shortstop."

Ian McCue is an associate reporter for
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