Chicago Cubs: One of the best shows cracks in October
From 2012 to 2017, Craig Kimbrel notched at least 31 saves annually. Now, I know. That’s not an effective way to measure success. Fine. How about this?
More from Cubbies Crib
- Cubs starting pitching has been thriving on the North Side
- Make no mistake: the Cubs are very much about power hitters
- Cubs are giving pitcher Javier Assad a deserved shot
- Cubs: It’s time to start thinking about potential September call-ups
- Cubs: P.J. Higgins deserves to be in the lineup on a daily basis
During the said span, Kimbrel compiled a 1.97 ERA (and a near-identical 1.98 FIP), 0.908 WHIP, 4.9 H/9 and 14.6 K/9. He made 521 appearances, averaging 65 per year and finished in the top 10 in Cy Young voting on five separate occasions. Heading into 2019, he is baseball’s active saves leader and ranks seventh in WPA.
Last year, though, he wasn’t quite the lights-out presence we’ve come to expect. The right-hander’s 3.13 FIP marked the highest of his career, as was his 1.0 HR/9. He walked 4.5 batters per nine – and that was the second-worst mark he’s ever posted in a single season.
Things didn’t get better in October, with Kimbrel struggling throughout the entire postseason. He followed up an 11.57 ERA in the LDS with a 4.50 ERA showing in the ALCS and by allowing two runs in his four World Series appearances. In short, he wasn’t what Boston needed. Thankfully for Red Sox Nation, they got the job done regardless.