Chicago Cubs cannot win without a reliable Craig Kimbrel in the ninth

Chicago Cubs / Craig Kimbrel (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Chicago Cubs / Craig Kimbrel (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Craik Kimbrel / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

After a disastrous debut last year as the Chicago Cubs closer, veteran Craig Kimbrel is hoping he can revert to his dominant form heading into 2020.

Craig Kimbrel is similar to Jon Lester in a lot of ways, especially in his no-nonsense, total accountability attitude. He’ll be the first guy to admit he didn’t pitch well after the Chicago Cubs brought him in midseason last year to shore up a bullpen that clearly lacked late-inning answers.

"“I think a lot of people want me to prove something to them,” he told “But as far as going into the season trying to prove anything, I’m not doing that. I don’t have a chip on my shoulder — nothing like that.”"

Kimbrel, heading into his age-32 campaign, is one of the best relievers of all-time. He boasts a career 2.08 ERA across 553 1/3 innings. His 346 saves rank 13th in baseball history and with a strong showing in 2020, he will likely find himself in the top ten.

That’s all fine and well. But the Cubs didn’t get that guy in 2019. His velocity took a marked downturn, his fastball became very hittable all of the sudden and between his starting the season mid-year and injuries, he was never able to really find his form down the stretch.