Chicago Cubs: Randy Rosario’s role is bigger than some think

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

With left-handed pitcher Mike Montgomery placed on the 10-day disabled list Friday, Randy Rosario was recalled from Triple-A Iowa and it was the correct move for the Chicago Cubs.

Left-hander Randy Rosario has been an excellent addition to the Cubs bullpen despite spending time in both Triple-A and the Chicago Cubs, especially early in the season when the bullpen was bit by the injury bug. Rosario, claimed off waivers from the Minnesota Twins, stepped up and has been part of the most consistent part of the 2018 Cubs: the bullpen.

From May 19 to July 14, Rosario posted a 1.95 ERA in 27 2/3 innings. During that stretch, key players like Carl Edwards Jr. and Brandon Morrow missed significant time due to injury.

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By season’s end, the move to bring him to the Cubs this past winter could be seen as more underrated than it already was.

In his six appearances since the All-Star Break, though, Rosario carries an 8.44 ERA, giving up at least one run in four of the six appearances. His last appearance came Aug. 5 against the San Diego Padres.

Like a lot of Cubs pitchers, he tends to walk guys on a consistent basis. For the season he has 19 walks compared to 21 strikeouts in 33 innings. But, he does post a 51 percent groundball rate and with one of the best defensive infields in baseball behind him, it’s likely to see him be more successful for the stretch run.

This is a big opportunity for Rosario

With his return, this is his chance to prove to Joe Maddon that he can be that lefty specialist the Cubs need late in games with Justin Wilson. Brian Duensing and Wilson have been up and down. Duensing has been on the DL with shoulder inflammation since Aug. 3, but he currently carries an unsightly 7.34 ERA for the season.

Wilson has rebounded from his horrific second half from last season after he was traded to the Cubs from the Detroit Tigers. He hasn’t given up a run in his last four appearances. His 15.5 percent walk rate is still alarming, but he does generate swing and misses with his 30.1 percent strikeout rate.

This said, Rosario can be another lefty to boost this already stellar bullpen. Morrow, Edwards Jr., Pedro Strop, Steve Cishek, Brandon Kintzler and Jesse Chavez all have something in common. They’re all right-handed throwers. The Cubs need these lefties to show some consistency down the stretch before the postseason because Maddon has shown to always play the matchups.

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It’s unknown how serious Montgomery’s injury is, so Rosario could be on the roster for 10 days or the rest of the season. It’s up in the air, but this is the kid’s chance to prove he belongs on the playoff roster.