I think it is firmly established at this point the Carl Edwards Jr. is the Cubs’ top setup man at this point, the lieutenant of the bullpen to Wade Davis’s closer.
So why was he out there in the 6th inning of a one-run game instead of being saved for the 8th inning? Simple: that 6th inning started with the Nationals’ number two hitter, a guy hitting .271/.336/.552 on the season (Brian Goodwin, for the record). Bryce Harper waited on deck, to be followed by two of the best hitters in the league this year, Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy.
Whatever number you attach to that inning, it was an inning where the game could have easily been lost.
So Joe Maddon tabbed his number two reliever, and Carl Edwards Jr. delivered in a big way:
Here's every called & swinging strike (8) Carl Edwards induced in his fantastic 6th inning tonight. This kid's pretty good. pic.twitter.com/UR3gvUczw8
— Pitcher List (@ThePitcherList) June 27, 2017
Hello, Carl. Goodbye, Nationals.
On the year, the 25-year-old righty sports a 1.72 ERA over 31.1 innings, with a 3.02 FIP and 2.75 xFIP. His walk rate, which has always been high, is still a touch high at 11.9%, but he largely makes up for it with a 37.3% strikeout rate, and a paltry .161 BABIP, driven largely by a good soft contact rate (20.7%) and a low hard contact rate (25.9%).
Carl Edwards Jr. is very, very good. He showed it off last night in a huge moment, and he will continue to be a big part of the Cubs’ bullpen going forward.