With Kimbrel unavailable, Cubs bullpen nearly falters
Cubs manager David Ross didn't give much of an explanation for why closer Craig Kimbrel was unavailable Friday, other than saying he will be ready Saturday.
He also didn't want to talk about how many other relievers were off limits during Friday's 3-2 win over Pittsburgh.
"There's a big competitive advantage in what I tell you guys," Ross said. "Can we just leave it at that?"
Andrew Chafin cruised through the eighth inning, but when Ross left him on the mound to face left-handed hitter Colin Moran, Chafin gave up a single.
Ryan Tepera came in and got a strikeout, but then gave up a double to Jacob Stallings, an RBI groundout and RBI single. Suddenly, the Pirates were within a run and it was 3-2.
Enter lefty Rex Brothers, who gave up a single and a hit batsman to load the bases, then went to a 3-1 count on Bryan Reynolds. After a foul ball, Brothers finally got a fly out to right to end the game.
"I was nervous for Rex, but he came through," Ross said. "I think I get more nervous than the guys out there on the field do. Him coming back 3-1 just showed a lot of poise, I thought, a calmness.
"It showed how much work he put in this offseason to be a guy we've trusted in and relied on in big moments. I thought that was a really nice performance from Rex today to lock it in when he had to and make big pitches and get those last outs."