With a one-run lead in the 9th inning yesterday, the Cubs called upon closer Brandon Morrow to finish things off, as he has already so many times this year. Morrow, getting his first shot at being a closer in about a decade, has been as close to stress-free as we’ve seen as Cubs fans in a long time.
Yesterday was probably not quite as stress-free as most of his other outings, but it was only the two-out walk that was his “fault” on that front.
That’s because all the other stress came from the batted balls around him on which he had to make stellar plays. A screaming rocket that he caught. A hustle-to-cover-first and find-the-the-throw grounder. A 3-2 strikeout at the end of a long at bat that featured four foul balls.
You’d forgive even an icy closer for letting his heartbeat get up there a bit after that 102.5 mph liner to open the inning that he managed to glove. That’s why it was good to see Anthony Rizzo head over to give his closer a moment to come down.
Rizzo later joked to Cubs.com: “They’re pitchers for a reason – they’re not athletes. I was like, ‘Your heart has to be racing.’ It was a big save for him.”
That was Morrow’s 15th save in 16 tries already for the Cubs, and his ERA is down to 1.66. The 26.7% strikeout rate is nice, and nobody’s really doing much damage with the bat when they put the ball in play. You’d still like to see the 10.5% walk rate come down quite a bit, but that’s really the only nit you can pick so far for Morrow. He’s been fantastic.