With Kimbrel unavailable, Cubs bullpen nearly falters

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • With closer Craig Kimbrel, above, unavailable Friday, the Cubs bullpen nearly squandered a 3-0 lead in the ninth inning. But with three different pitchers on the mound, they finally closed out the win.

    With closer Craig Kimbrel, above, unavailable Friday, the Cubs bullpen nearly squandered a 3-0 lead in the ninth inning. But with three different pitchers on the mound, they finally closed out the win. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 5/7/2021 7:50 PM

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."

0 Comments
 

Get articles sent to your inbox.

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.