A year ago the Cubs and fans wanted no part of Justin Wilson on the playoff roster after trading for him in July from the Detroit Tigers to help solidify the bullpen. Now, Wilson is the third maybe the second most trusted reliever coming out of the pen down the stretch?
It is wild how one year can change everything. Wilson is now responsible for getting some of the biggest outs for the Cubs in a division race after looking like Tyler Chatwood last year.
During Tuesday’s 3-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers, Jose Quintana pitched brilliantly and should have had seven shutout innings. However, Daniel Murphy’s poor play on a slow grounder really put the Cubs in a tough spot with the bases loaded when the inning should have been over.
Luckily, Wilson came in and struck out Manny Pina to bail out Murphy.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 12, 2018
Since July, Wilson has a 2.50 ERA, allowing five earned runs in 18 innings during 30 appearances.
He’ll certainly be in more high leverage situations down the stretch, especially against lefties, who Wilson is holding to a .195 batting average this season.
Yet, Wilson’s strikeout with the bases loaded might not have even been the most impressive performance from a reliever last night.
After Victor Caratini added an insurance run in the seventh to make it 3-0, Joe Maddon went to Jorge de la Rosa in the eighth. De la Rosa faced a pinch hitter in Tyler Saladino, Lorenzo Cain, who’s killed the Cubs this year and then Christian Yelich, who’s been the best hitter since the All-Star break.
And by now you already know what happened. De la Rosa, who the Cubs signed on Aug. 10, after the Arizona Diamondbacks released him, set the Brewers down in order, striking out both Cain and Yelich.
Since joining the Cubs, de la Rosa has mainly been used in mop up duty, but he’s provided the team more than what was expected, only allowing three earned runs in 15.1 innings. And now all of a sudden he’s getting big outs in the middle of a division race in September?
Ah yes, just like we all imagined back in April.
And by the way, the two most trusted guys in the bullpen right now are Pedro Strop, who some Cubs fans still don’t trust despite his 2.33 ERA and Jesse Chavez, who the Cubs traded for back in July.
Oh how things change in one year.
The Cubs are still hopeful to get Brandon Morrow as soon as next week, although he won’t be coming back right into the closer position.
Theo Epstein said Brandon Morrow won't immediately return as Cubs closer: "We have to be prepared for a broad range of outcomes for him. We may not necessarily see his top-shelf stuff. We may, we may not."
— 670 The Score (@670TheScore) September 12, 2018
So for now, the Cubs will have to rely on some unexpected names to continue and come up big. Though, if they really want to be a threat, Carl Edwards Jr. and Steve Cishek have to return to their elite level because it’s been pretty bad the past couple weeks for those two.