Chicago Cubs: The pup with new tricks
I almost feel like not writing about pitcher Rowan Wick and going straight to Dan Winkler in this article because of all the comments I’m going to get in the Cubs Fan Groups on social media.
So for the record – let me say, yes, I know Wick pitched for the Cubs last year, and this is not his first year with the Cubs like everyone else I’ve been featuring here. However, Wick’s strong performance this year calls for an honorable mention.
(Oh, I know some dummy out there is going to comment “Wick played last year for the Cubs – you don’t know what you’re talking about – this is a dumb article…”)
Ah, the joy of being a baseball sportswriter covering one of America’s most beloved teams. (Now someone will write those words just as a joke–also to my chagrin) but I digress.
It is well documented that I have had no recent love for closer Craig Kimbrel’s lack of early effort, but I have almost the exact opposite feelings for a right-handed relief pitcher, Canadian Cubs pup, Wick. Talk about making no money and stepping up and saving the team four times this season.
I firmly believe this guy is on his way in his second year with the club. Although his ERA is slightly higher than last year’s impressive 2.43 ERA, this year, Wick is still killing them with a 3.31 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 18 games pitched. The young pup has undoubtedly learned some new tricks, and they will need all of them in the postseason. In my mind, he is still none other than Mr. Wick. Okay, on with the newbie!
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Dan Winkler – If you’re the type of fan that runs to the fridge during the game or starts talking to the neighbor about watering the grass, you might have just missed Cubs pitcher Dan Winkler, who slides in and out so quickly relieving our starters, that you could very well have missed him.
Winkler has been no-nonsense relief as he comes in for shorts stints, kills some batters and then heads home for tacos. It hasn’t been 100% roses every time he takes the mound, but on the whole, Winkler has earned his place on the roster.
Thus far, Winkler has recorded 13 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings pitched, finished two games for the Cubbies, and allowed only nine hits in his ventures to the mound. What that equals is a very respectable 3.07 ERA that has Winkler going neck and neck but edging out fellow hurler Ryan Tepera’s 4.34 ERA. There seems to be more tendency on Ross’ part to use Tepera than Winkler but expect some crossing of T’s and dotting of I’s before the season is over for Winkler.
Winkler is a fresh face that came to the Cubs from Atlanta but originally hailed from Effingham, Illinois. Now that Winkler is back home, his game is improving, just like a fellow teammate, second baseman, Jason Kipnis.
Winkler earns a place as one of the top three newbies of 2020; welcome home Dan!