Joe Maddon's tinkering appears to have cost the Chicago Cubs their closer.
An MRI on the injured left hamstring of Pedro Strop - who got hurt while running the bases in the 10th inning of Thursday's game against the Washington Nationals - revealed the right-hander suffered a moderate left hamstring strain that will sideline him for the remainder of the regular season, according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.
There is still a possibility that Strop will be able to return for the playoffs. His progress will be monitored over the next few weeks.
Strop threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings during Thursday's makeup contest in Washington before he got hurt. After being allowed to hit for himself in extra innings with the bases loaded - the Cubs had just taken a 4-3 lead, and wanted him on the mound in the bottom half - Strop hit into a double play and came up lame as he stretched to try and beat the throw across first base.
Since taking over closing duties for the injured Brandon Morrow on July 19, the 33-year-old Strop has posted a 1.77 ERA and 0.84 WHIP while saving 11 games. His work in the second half has helped stabilize a Cubs bullpen that's been hampered by injuries and inconsistency throughout 2018.
Maddon told Carrie Muskat of MLB.com on Friday that he won't name a new permanent closer and instead will delegate ninth-inning duties "based on what happens before (the ninth inning), and we'll see how it all shakes out."
Strop's injury comes at an inopportune time for Chicago, which enters play Friday just 1 1/2 games up on the Milwaukee Brewers and 4 1/2 ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals in the contentious NL Central race.