Chicago Cubs: Some Brandon Morrow is better than no Morrow

(Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
(Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images) /

When the Chicago Cubs inked Brandon Morrow to a two-year contract last winter, there was no secret it came with some risk. Unfortunately, that risk has come full circle. But there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel for Morrow.

So far in 2018, Brandon Morrow has pitched in 35 games and has been dominant. A 1.47 ERA in 30.2 innings, with a 2.96 FIP and 31 strikeouts. He has also recorded 22 saves in his first season both as a full-time closer and as a member of the Chicago Cubs.

In his career as a reliever, he has made 221 appearances with a 2.89 ERA. Even better, in save situations, he has a 0.23 ERA in 40 appearances. That is a small sample, but still a ridiculous sample. Adding to that small sample, Morrow did not become a full time reliever until 2016.

Before joining the Cubs, Morrow completed his first full season as a reliever by being a key member of the Dodgers’ bullpen. He pitched in 45 games with a 2.06 ERA, striking out 50 hitters in 43.2 innings. Morrow also worked in all seven games of last season’s World Series.

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The reason Morrow coming back is so big right now is because the Cubs’ bullpen is clearly gassed, as are the players. Going into Friday’s game against the Nationals, the Cubs are in day 25 of a 30-day stretch where they play everyday, which includes a lot of travel. Thursday was supposed to be a day off, but because of rain the game against the Nationals got re-scheduled.

The Cubs came away with a win in said game, but lost the man filling in for Morrow, Pedro Strop. Needless to say, that victory came at a steep cost.

Two of the Cubs’ top relievers, Carl Edwards and Steve Cishek have really seen their share of struggles recently. Over Edwards’ last 15 appearances, he has walked 10 hitters in just 11 innings, posting a 1.64 WHIP.

Cishek, over his last seven games, has posted a 10.38 ERA, while giving up two of his five home runs on the season. Morrow will provide a fresh arm for the last few games and the playoffs, which the Cubs desperately need, hoping to spell Edwards and Cishek a little.

Not helping matters is the fact that not only are Edwards and Cishek ineffective right now, so is Brandon Kintzler, who was acquired to try and help those guys get some rest. In 19 appearances with the Cubs, Kintzler has an 8.36 ERA, giving up 23 hits in 14 innings, walking eight, and striking out just 9.

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Morrow’s return will probably take Kintzler off the playoff roster with the emergence of guys like Justin Wilson and Jorge De La Rosa to face lefties. With as good as Morrow is, and how fresh he may be, getting something out of him could go a long way for this team’s postseason hopes.