Chicago Cubs: Moving to the top three players feeling the heat
3. Craig Kimbrel – As a pitcher, you can’t hold out until the middle of the season like you’re throwing the Goose’s golden eggs, get a three-year, $43 million contract and then throw boulders across the plate.
Not that Kimbrel is throwing boulders, but Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich might say his last look against Kimbrel was pretty solid. The Chicago closer served up a watermelon Yelich took to the house for a ninth-inning, three-run homer and insurance for a win against the Cubs. So uh-uh, you gotta perform in this town; this is Chicago and even more importantly, the Chicago Cubs.
In a baseball town that has recently changed its motto from “Wait ‘till next year” to “What have you done for me lately?” Kimbrel knows he’s got to slam the door consistently. Chicago welcomed the wilding closer to the Friendly Confines in late June with open arms (literally scarecrow- style) and Kimbrel responded by closing out the Atlanta Braves in his debut at Wrigley Field.
Since that time, Kimbrel has spent some time on the IL, which most critics might say was more of a “calm down” rest for the closer, who wasn’t looking great just before he went on the IL. The potential Hall of Famer returned during the Cubs bullpen issues in August and has looked good until the Yelich fiasco.
However, with two series left against the Cardinals and Pirates and one series left against the Brewers; Kimbrel knows his time to shine has not yet come but is fast approaching with a Cubs team that will need him to be killing it.