It appeared that Chicago Cubs reliever Pedro Strop was set to take over as the team’s closer when Jose Veras was taken out of the role. He is one of a few candidates for the team’s long-term solution as closer, but in latest outing he blew a three-run lead in the ninth by giving up four earned runs. After pitching lights out down the stretch for the Cubs last season, Strop has struggled so far this season. One Cubs reliever who hasn’t struggled, a rare breed these days, is Justin Grimm.
Grimm is 1-0 with a sterling 0.82 ERA in 12 appearances so far this season. While those appearances haven’t taken place in high-pressure save situations, Grimm has earned a chance to claim the closer spot. Another reliever who has performed well in Chicago is Hector Rondon. While his numbers are just as good as Grimm’s, posting a 0.79 ERA in 10 appearances, he is a riskier closer option than Grimm. He actually has better stuff than Grimm does, but he can also miss the strike zone on occasion. Grimm locates well and that’s what the Cubs need right now.
Cubs fans are all too familiar with their closers missing the strike zone and putting runners on base without other players even having to reach base via base hits. If Cubs relievers are going to get beaten, they have to make other teams beat them — they can’t beat themselves. While Rondon could possibly fit that description, Grimm gives them the best chance to win in the ninth. Once they start converting more save chances, and with Grimm they will, the Cubs can start pushing themselves closer to mediocrity.