Playing for a winner helps Kimbrel adjust to trade from Cubs to Sox

  • Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel (46) delivers during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians, Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021, in Chicago.

    Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel (46) delivers during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians, Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

  • White Sox reliever Craig Kimbrel talks about moving over from the Cubs Aug. 6 at Wrigley Field.

    White Sox reliever Craig Kimbrel talks about moving over from the Cubs Aug. 6 at Wrigley Field. Scot Gregor | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 8/6/2021 3:23 PM

Craig Kimbrel has 12 saves pitching at Wrigley Field this season.

They all came with the Cubs, and now the 33-year reliever will try to bag some more with the White Sox.

 

Traded to the Sox July 30 for injured second baseman Nick Madrigal and relief pitcher Codi Heuer, Kimbrel is still looking for his first save since relocating to the South Side of Chicago.

Moving from a fourth-place team in the NL Central to a first-place team in the AL Central is much more important.

"Winning teams expect to win," Kimbrel said. "I think that's what I've seen so far. Everybody's expecting to win every single night and that's what winning teams have to do. That expectation can be a good thing. You're going to have to have it when we get to October."

A virtual lock to make the playoffs, the White Sox have two all-star closers in Kimbrel and Liam Hendriks. Both veterans are more concerned with team success than individual glory, so there is no controversy.

"Obviously, we know what situation this is and what it looks like," Kimbrel said. "But we also understand we've got jobs to do. We can't let stuff like that get in the way of what our job is, and that's to win ballgames and get this team where they need to be."

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The Sox are set to win more games with Kimbrel joining Hendriks at the back of the bullpen.

Getting trade help at second base with Cesar Hernandez and middle relief with Ryan Tepera was expected. Getting a premier talent like Kimbrel was not.

"I definitely was surprised," White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu said through a translator. "Everybody knows the quality of pitcher he is, the year he was having with the Cubs. It's better to have him on our side than facing him."

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