As we ride the roller coaster that is the Chicago Cubs offense and starting pitching, one man continues to be as close to a sure thing as humanly possible.
I’ll admit. When the Chicago Cubs added Brandon Morrow this winter, I secretly hoped there was another move coming. You know, the move. Use Morrow as the late-inning fireman much the same as the Dodgers did on their way to the World Series last year, add a shutdown closer – perhaps even bring back Wade Davis.
Thank God I’m not pulling the levers behind the scenes.
Davis, of course, inked a staggering three-year, $52 million deal with an option for 2021. He’s been filthy – racking up 18 saves through the first two months of the season. But while he’s been good – I like what I’ve seen from Brandon Morrow even more.
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He’s appeared 20 times for Joe Maddon – picking up 12 saves in the process. Over that span, he blew just one opportunity – back in early May. Aside from that lone blemish, the hard-throwing right-hander has been nothing short of elite at the back end of the pen.
Opponents carry a minuscule .190 average against Morrow into Wednesday’s finale against Pittsburgh. At home, he’s been particularly lethal, posting a 0.580 WHIP in 11 appearances. Both at Wrigley and on the road, he’s relied on downright filthy stuff – including a heater that blows past hitters in the triple digits.
Again, it helps that the Cubs are deploying him in a way similar to the Dodgers. In theory, at least, this will keep him healthy down the stretch. And you have to give credit where it’s due. Without the strong performances from his fellow relievers, that may not have been a luxury the Cubs could have afforded their closer.
Cubs pen carrying their weight
Brian Duensing left money on the table to come back to Chicago – and it’s working out well for both sides. Through 24 appearances, the southpaw carries a 1.59 ERA – the same as fellow reliever Pedro Strop.
Justin Hancock and Steve Cishek also check in with sub-2.00 ERAs – immediately giving you an idea just how deep this pen has been. The two ‘struggling’ relievers – and I use that term very loosely and more as a comparison to the names already mentioned – are Justin Wilson and Carl Edwards.
Both of whom, might I mention, have limited opponents to batting averages south of .200. So, like I said, ‘struggling’ is an unfair term if you really want to get into the nitty gritty of things. But that’s another story for another time.
What it all comes down to is this. When Chicago brought in Morrow, they had a plan as far as usage. And, thanks to not only his sheer dominance, but the exploits of his fellow dance crew members out in the bullpen, it’s been carried out flawlessly.
Forget Aroldis Chapman and Wade Davis. It’s Brandon Morrow’s time to shine – and he’s doing so with as little drama as possible. God, it’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it?