With a doubleheader on tap for the day, the Chicago Cubs get the benefit of a 26th man. That is thanks to a recently-implemented rule that allows teams to get that extra guy so that their pitchers aren’t completely wrecked by having to fill up two games’ worth of innings in a single day.
… except it sounds like the Cubs aren’t calling up a pitcher. They’re calling up a top positional prospect:
We can expect a Jeimer Candelario sighting with the Cubs. Been tearing it up at AAA. Doubleheader allows for 26th man
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) May 9, 2017
Before you think “WHAT THE HECK, MAN!? THE BULLPEN IS TAXED!”, consider two things: (1) everyone just got an off-day yesterday, and (2) the Cubs already brought up an extra pitcher yesterday in the Jason Heyward DL move. They were already operating with a whopping nine guys in the bullpen!
So, in other words, bringing up an extra positional player today is by far the better move, lest the Cubs try to play a doubleheader with a three-man bench. Heck, even with four, I’m a little nervous.
I wouldn’t rule out Candelario getting a start in the second game of the doubleheader, too (the game one lineup is out). The 23-year-old switch-hitter is currently hitting a ridiculous .340/.443/.649 at AAA Iowa, and has been limited third and first base.
It’s possible he could stick around even after today, as the Cubs will drop down in pitchers eventually. But, depending on how today goes on that front, they may yet want to load up on pitchers through the weekend in St. Louis.