Late last night, Tommy Birch (Des Moines Register) suggested that right-handed reliever Luke Farrell was being optioned back to Iowa, and, since he’s almost always right about anything I-Cubs related, we knew a move was coming before tonight’s game..
And as Brett speculated in the bullets earlier this morning, it is indeed left-hander Brian Duensing returning from the disabled list, replacing Farrell in the bullpen and on the roster, per multiple reports.
Duensing first hit the DL back on July 1 with shoulder fatigue, although many of us at the time speculated that the move was mostly a chance for the struggling reliever (6.92 ERA, 5.74 FIP) to take a breather and reset. Calling him back for the final three games before the break, then, is a nice way to get him back in the swing of things, hopefully to throw a clean inning or two, and give him the scheduled rest of the All-Star break to get that fresh start he needs in the second half.
And for what it’s worth, Duensing threw 1.0 scoreless, hitless, walkless inning of relief at Double-A before being called back up to the Majors today. At his best (2017), Duensing succeeds by limiting walks, getting a ton of ground balls, and limiting hard contact. He even struck out 23.7% of the batters he faced last season. At his worst (2018), he walks more than he strikes out and gets very few balls on the ground. Which, obviously that’s a recipe for disaster. Here’s to hoping the time off will get him back on track.
As for Farrell, the 27-year-old right-handed reliever has been up and down from the Chicago Cubs multiple times this season, amassing 28.0 total IP from April until today. And despite some shaky outings here and there, Farrell has actually been pretty solid lately, spinning four-straight scoreless outings (two of which covered more than just 1.0 inning) while striking out six and walking four. This is likely not the last we’ve seen of Farrell.
The current bullpen now looks like this:
- Brandon Morrow
- Carl Edwards Jr.
- Pedro Strop
- Steve Cishek
- Justin Wilson
- Randy Rosario
- Brian Duensing
- James Norwood