Chicago Cubs' Maddon familiar with closer by committee

  • Brad Brach is a key part of the mix as Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon is going with a closer by committee out of his bullpen.

    Brad Brach is a key part of the mix as Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon is going with a closer by committee out of his bullpen. Patrick Kunzer file photo | Staff Photographer, April 8, 2019

Updated 5/21/2019 8:37 PM

The Chicago Cubs entered Tuesday as a first-place team without a true closer.

Brandon Morrow has not pitched since before last year's all-star break because of biceps and elbow problems. Morrow's backup, Pedro Strop, is on the injured list with a hamstring injury.


Cubs manager Joe Maddon has experience with this kind of situation.

"The 2008 Rays," he said. "Once (Troy Percival) got hurt, it was pretty much by committee after that. In that group, it was (Grant) Balfour and J.P. Howell that became middle-game closers. Then we parceled it out at the end of the game.

"Regarding a World Series run, that's the only time I've done it that way, but I've done it in similar fashion just getting to the playoffs in the past. I think it's attainable."

The Cubs have been going with a mix of Steve Cishek and Brad Brach at the end of games. Cishek earned a 2⅓-inning save Sunday at Washington. Brach suffered a blown save Monday night. A checked-swing call that went against the Cubs on a possible final out of a victory and a dunk single victimized Brach in the ninth inning of the Cubs' 5-4 loss in 10.

"I thought Brad Brach threw great, not OK, I thought he threw great," Maddon said. "He was victimized by a call or a not-call right there and then. A good hitter (Jean Segura) gets jammed and all of a sudden it looks like a bad outing, which it wasn't. Baseball, man, it's just baseball."

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Still sore:

Shortstop Javier Baez didn't start for a second straight game because of a bruised right heel, suffered Sunday.

"I talked to Javy in the dugout (Monday) and said it's probably wise to not play today," Joe Maddon said. "We set that up, actually, during the game based on talking to him.

"He just keeps using the word 'sore,' and I just want to make sure that's all it is."

In the camera eye:

Anthony Rizzo joked about being spotted out late Saturday into the wee hours of Sunday by TMZ. Rizzo was out in Washington with teammate Jon Lester. Rizzo hit a home run Sunday night.

According to the report, Rizzo and Lester finished their night/morning at a McDonald's.

"I don't remember the night," he said with a laugh. "It's really part of the gig. You understand that wherever you go, you're going to be watched. You just don't do anything that's going to embarrass yourself too much. If McDonald's is embarrassing, you might not be American.

"Out of the field you're representing more than yourself. There's a difference between having fun and acting like an idiot. Just being smart."


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