In a game that the bullpen lost for the Chicago Cubs on Monday night, there was a bright spot. The return of Carl Edwards.
The Chicago Cubs eight-game win streak was snapped Monday evening at a chilly Wrigley Field after the Northsiders were unable to close out a one-run lead in the ninth inning.
Plain and simple, it was not Pedro Strop’s night, and while he’s never been considered a top-tier closer, he’s undoubtedly the Cubs most reliable reliever in the bullpen.
Wins are wins and losses are losses, but there was some light in what was a bad loss for the Cubs, who have been scorching hot compared to the 10-24 Miami Marlins.
Carl Edwards Jr. returned to the Cubs bullpen after Dillon Maples was optioned back to Iowa. Edwards, who struggled mightily before the Cubs shipped him back to Triple-A, entered last night’s ball game with a 32.40 ERA in 1 2/3 innings pitched.
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If you look back at the Cubs 1-6 start to open the season, he was a big reason why they had the rough start.
Edwards’ redemption tour began last night and started on the right note, pitching a clean sixth inning. Two pop-ups and a little dribbler back to himself for the put out at first base.
It’s the lowly Marlins in just one inning, and it’s only one game, but Edwards’ confidence will be critical moving forward, and this game is just a building block.
With Edwards’ return, it bolsters a Cubs bullpen that is undoubtedly the weakest part of the 2019 team. It has been very good over the last 20 games as we’ve watched the Cubs go from last to first so quickly, but as we saw last night, the bullpen can be bad.
Fortunately for the Cubs, Strop has been one of the most consistent relievers in the pen for the better half of this decade for the Cubs and fans shouldn’t be worried about him going forward. Strop did display the Cubs biggest problem the entire bullpen has, however. He walked three Marlins hitters.
In Edwards 1 2/3 innings, he walked five batters. The Cubs lead all of baseball with a 13.9% walk percentage and with a 25% strikeout rate (12th in baseball) they are only hurting themselves with the walks because they don’t have many relievers who create a lot of strikeouts.
When Edwards has confidence and pitches with control, he is one of the best relievers in the game. Last season, Edwards created 67 strikeouts in 52 innings. That’s an 11.60 K/9. He compiled 94 strikeouts in 66 1/3 innings in 2017, good for 12.75 K/9.
He told the media yesterday he was humbled by the experience and credited his father and teammate Jason Heyward for helping him clear his mind of the past.
Monday showed promise, let’s hope CJ can continue to ride this path.