Chicago Cubs: Big early takeaways one week into Cubs camp

Chicago Cubs (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
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Chicago Cubs
Craig Kimbrel / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: The veteran All-Star closer has some adjustments to make

This past week closer Craig Kimbrel pitched in a scrimmage game at Wrigley Field and gave up two runs and struck out two. The two runs were driven in by a Willson Contreras opposite-field home run.

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Typically a scrimmage is not something to think twice about, and it still probably does not mean much. However, Kimbrel giving up home runs has been an alarming trend since joining the Cubs last year.

Kimbrel, in just 20 2/3 innings last year, gave up a career-high nine home runs with a 6.53 ERA and 1.6 WHIP. He then gave up two home runs in 2 2/3 innings of work in spring training playback in March. It is much easier to “overreact” to a scrimmage home run ball with everything that has happened the past year.

Kimbrel is slated strictly as the Cubs closer, and he is going to have to perform at least at a solid level if the team is going to contend. The 32-year old veteran is making some adjustments to his repertoire, including adding a changeup. Kimbrel should get the benefit of the doubt going into this season with his great resume, but it is clear he will have to work hard to get back to being productive, even if that means adapting a new approach.