Chicago Cubs reliever Justin Wilson had a real good stretch before blowing the save Tuesday. With a number of key injuries in the bullpen, roles could shift.
One could only imagine what Justin Wilson was feeling Tuesday afternoon after giving up the lead in the ninth inning. Coming in for injured closer Brandon Morrow, Wilson needed just one more strike to seal a Chicago Cubs victory.
Instead, Kyle Farmer hit a two-run double off to give Los Angeles a late lead. Thousands of Dodgers fans at Wrigley Field cheered as the home faithful stood stunned. It was a tough one to swallow.
That game ended a real nice run for Justin Wilson. After struggling again in the first month, the veteran lefty had been lights out since May 1.
Over a 19-game span (5/1 – 6/13), Wilson sported a 0.47 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 11 walks, 27 strikeouts and .143 batting average against in 19.0 innings. The only blemish in that span was the walk-off walk he surrendered to Billy Hamilton on May 19.
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It is important to note that not only in the last month and a half, but the whole season, Wilson does not have a save recorded. Tuesday’s game was the only time he had pitched in a save opportunity. He is 0-for-2 in save opportunities as a Cub in total.
Where does Justin Wilson fit in with the bullpen’s current situation?
Those are two huge pieces missing. Justin Hancock will stay on the team to fill the roster spot, but now there will need to be some shifting.
Where does Justin Wilson go?
One thing can be ruled out, he will not serve as closer, nor should he. As good as Wilson has been overall lately, he is not the guy to put out there in a save spot. The walks on the season are still high as he sports a 1.400 WHIP. He has done well in close games prior to the ninth inning, as he has five holds on the year, so he probably will be used in the seventh or eight inning.
Also do not be surprised to see him being used to eat an inning in a blowout game still. If we see Wilson in the ninth, it is probably because the Cubs are up by five runs or more.
The closer role seems to fit either Pedro Strop or Steve Cishek best. While Cishek has the most closer experience, his role as “fireman” has been much needed. As for Wilson hopefully he can shake off his last outing. He can still be useful in the pen like he has been, but not in that same situation.