Cubs shuffle the bullpen, looking to bounce back from Friday's embarrassing 11-1 loss

Keegan Thompson is back, while left-hander Luke Little heads back to Triple-A Iowa.
San Francisco Giants v Chicago Cubs
San Francisco Giants v Chicago Cubs / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages

In an expected move, the Chicago Cubs are bringing Keegan Thompson back ahead of Saturday's matchup against the New York Mets. Left-hander Luke Little was optioned to Iowa in a corresponding move, one day after tossing 1 2/3 scoreless frames to close out an 11-1 loss in the series opener.

The big question now is what role will Thompson play. In his last appearance before going on the paternity list this week, the right-hander closed out a 5-2 Cubs win over the Giants, striking out the side in the ninth. Given the team's endless ninth-inning woes this season, it stands to reason that Craig Counsell could give Thompson a chance at the closer's job.

Keegan Thompson could be the latest to get a run at the closer's job

Six of the seven earned runs he's allowed this year came in two of his 11 appearances and he's posting career-best strikeout numbers. Again, it's just an 11-game sample size, but Thompson has always been a guy Cubs fans daydreamed about because if he ever got it all figured out, it could be a big-time answer in the bullpen.

As for Little, he'll head back to Iowa to keep working on his development - and he'll no doubt be back at some point. The imposing southpaw has all the stuff but needs to be more consistent and dial in his control if he's going to be a mainstay at the big league level. He's made 23 appearances on the year but is walking a ghastly 7.4 batters per nine. That's just not going to cut it.

Counsell is hoping for a better start from Jameson Taillon than the disastrous outing Shota Imanaga turned in on Friday. The Mets took it to the Cubs left-hander, clearly learning from their first matchup against him earlier in the season. Imanaga lasted just three innings, giving up 10 runs on 11 hits. Thankfully, Hayden Wesneski, Porter Hodge and Little ate up the rest of the game, giving the Cubs at least some options in the pen for the rest of the weekend.