September 14, 2018
Chicago Cubs — Pedro Strop injured his left hamstring while trying to beat out a throw to first base in the 10th inning of Thursday’s game. Strop was batting with one out and the bases loaded, puzzling Cubs fans, but Joe Maddon explained that he planned to send Strop back out to pitch if the team scored. Strop says he’s out for at least two weeks and will undergo an MRI this weekend. Replacing Strop should be a committee with Steve Cishek at the front, followed by the struggling CJ Edwards, Justin Wilson, and perhaps Jesse Chavez. Cishek closed earlier this season when Brandon Morrow was out, while Chavez has nailed down three second-half saves himself. Morrow, for what it’s worth, hopes to return next week, and what was slated to be a gradual return to high-leverage might need to be sped up. Who actually recorded the save Thursday? Of course, it was no one we just mentioned: enter Robert Rosario. It was Rosario’s first career save, but his peripherals (5.5 K/9, 1.43 WHIP) suggest you shouldn’t count on him to pick up many more chances.
Updated hierarchy: *Cishek | Edwards | Wilson.
* = closer-by-committee
Boston Red Sox — The Red Sox bullpen continued to be a mess behind Craig Kimbrel on Thursday. Clinging to a one-run lead, Joe Kelly coughed it up, allowing a walk, a single, and two hit batters. Out of 15 pitches, he threw just five strikes. When he’s going good, he can be a dominant setup man. When he’s not… well, he can be the team’s worst reliever. But there’s really no one ready yet to step into the eighth inning with Kelly struggling, at least until Matt Barnes comes back… perhaps next week after he throws off a mound? Don’t sleep on Steven Wright, who has been used a lot in high-leverage, late-game spots lately. Also, there’s Ryan Brasier, who may continue to get his late-inning cracks, too.
Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Kelly | Wright.
VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Kenta Maeda — Kenley Jansen has pitched in two straight, but he had an arduous outing Thursday (29 pitches). He may need a day off.
2. Kevin McCarthy — Wily Peralta has pitched in three of four.
1. Joe Kelly/Steven Wright — Craig Kimbrel has pitched in two straight. Joe Kelly has not looked good lately, so does manager Alex Cora give Steven Wright a shot?
2. Greg Holland — Entering Friday, Sean Doolittle has pitched in two of three, throwing 46 pitches.
3. Seth Lugo — Robert Gsellman has pitched in two of three.
4. Paul Fry — So has Mychal Givens.