In a Chicago Cubs season that has been defined by clutch moments such as outfielder Mike Tauchman's game-winning catch in center field against the St. Louis Cardinals the week before the MLB Trade Deadline or Christopher Morel's walk-off home run against the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night, there was another moment in last night's game that should not be overlooked.
Veteran Cubs' relief pitcher Michael Fulmer entered the game in the eighth inning with the White Sox having the bases loaded and no outs. It was a prime opportunity for the White Sox to add to their 3-0 lead at the time.
For Cubs fans, it was a moment that they would have hated to see at the beginning of the season. Fulmer entered the season as the Cubs' de facto closer but his struggles led to a quick demotion from high-leverage situations.
Despite Fulmer's struggles at the beginning of the season, the Cubs remained confident in the veteran relief pitcher. Fulmer was demoted to low-leverage situations but as he began to turn his season around, he was once again being entrusted with high-leverage situations.
Wednesday was a full-circle moment for Fulmer. Faced with the aforementioned situation, Fulmer shut down the White Sox offense as he struck out all three batters faced to end the inning.
Since May 28, not only has Fulmer returned to form but he has stabilized the Cubs' bullpen along with the emergence of Adbert Alzolay as the team's closer. In his last 30 appearances, Fulmer has a 1.85 ERA and has struck out just under 30% of the hitters he has faced.
There have been plenty of unsung heroes for the Cubs this season as they look for their first postseason appearance since 2020. Fulmer's ability to turn his season around has been an important development for the Cubs as they embark on the run that they are currently on.