The Chicago Cubs saw another lead slip away Friday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Hector Rondon had a two run lead in the 10th inning with two out and he let the game get away from him. Allowing a double first to A.J. Pollock and then a moon shot home run to Paul Goldschmidt to tie the game up. Instead of being more confident and tougher on the hitters with two outs, Rondon seems to have gotten panicked and lost his focus on the final out.
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It’s not that he gave up a home run to one of the best sluggers in all of baseball, but it was the pitch and location that was troubling. Rondon threw a fastball with no movement right over the heart of the plate; even an average hitter would deposit that ball into the seats.
He seems to be relying on his fastball way too much. According to BrooksBaseball.net, Rondon has thrown his fastball 46.5% of the time this year, his second-highest pitch is his sinker at 19.5%. When Rondon his throwing his fourseam fastball in the strike zone, hitters are 9-for-22.
With that blown save on Friday night, that now makes three blown saves on the young season. He’s had a rough month of May along with the rest of the bullpen for the Chicago Cubs. Rondon’s last nine innings, he’s surrendered six runs.
Is there reason for concern or is this merely a bump in the road of a long season?
"“I don’t have any doubt in my mind that he’s going to be fine,” Montero said. “It’s just a little tweak here and there. A couple tweaks, and he’ll be fine. Obviously, right now his confidence level is a little bit low. He’s got to pull himself together and get after it tomorrow.” Miguel Montero via chicagocubs.com Carrie Muskat"
Hopefully for Rondon it’s just a little bit of a slump, one that he’ll find his way out of. If it isn’t, the Cubs will need to figure out another option; whether that be signing a remaining free agent, calling up a minor league player, changing roles of guys in the pen, or trading for one.
Of course the Cubs could also go by a situational closer or better known as the closer by committee that some teams have adopted in the past with mixed results.
Likely the Cubs will add another arm to assist the bullpen in one way or another, whether it is as a closer or one that could set up the closer.
Rondon has good stuff and was on a great run before blowing his first save this year. I know that a lot of fans are starting to have flashbacks of Carlos Marmol all over again, but I think the Cubs won’t let that mess happen again.