Sometimes the biggest help comes from the most unlikely of sources. That’s what the Chicago Cubs‘ bullpen has gotten this year from reliever Hector Rondon. Going into the season, it was relatively unknown whether he would even make the team. Once he did, he pitched lights out and jumped several other relievers in the battle for the closer spot after former closer Jose Veras was ousted from the role.
After avoiding a scare and shutting down the St. Louis Cardinals earlier today, he’s proving he has the stuff, both mentally and physically, to be the Cubs’ closer for the remainder of the season and possibly beyond that point. Rondon has a stellar 0.59 ERA while striking out 16 and walking just four. More importantly than that, Rondon is 3-for-3 in save chances this season. It seems relatively apparent that manager Rick Renteria has decided to go with Rondon as his closer based on recent games.
Following his latest performance, pitching out of trouble against the rival Cardinals and securing the Cubs their first series win of the season, it’s clear that Rondon is this team’s closer. After an April that seemed less than stellar, at 11-17, the Cubs really aren’t far from where they should be. Now that they’ve gotten over the hump of winning a series and stringing together three victories in a row, only time will tell how much progress the Cubs can make this season.
Just a short week ago it seemed like the Cubs might once again be done in by their lack of bullpen pitching, but with Rondon filling the spot, it doesn’t seem like a problem anymore. It’s only been a month, but this veteran, who had yet to stick with the team up until now, likely will be looking forward and not back. As a result, the Cubs’ future could be looking up.