Last night, the best remaining/healthy Cubs reliever, Brandon Kintzler, replaced Steve Cishek with one out in the 8th inning, in what was shaping up to be a multi-inning save opportunity. But after wiggling his way out of the 8th, Kintzler left the mound grabbing his right pectoral muscle and didn’t come back out for the ninth.
With Pedro Strop, Brandon Morrow, and Craig Kimbrel all on the injured list (plus Carl Edwards Jr. in another state), losing Kintzler was a particularly tough blow to consider. Or, well, that’s what we thought it would be (turns out we were half-right).
Because the injury happened so late, we didn’t get much in the form of an update last night and it’s taken all day to get one today. And unfortunatly, the news isn’t any good.
About an hour ago, Bruce Levine reported that Kintzler would test his sore pectoral muscle with a little side session. And given the nature of the Cubs transactions since then, I think we all know how that went:
Cubs Pedro Strop activated – Kintzler on IL
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) August 6, 2019
I suppose the good news here is that Pedro Strop is being activated off the injured list, but (1) he wasn’t pitching well before going on the injured list and (2) this feels like they’re rushing him back to fill a need. Whether Strop is/was significantly hurt or not, there’s no doubting that the time off was at least partially therapeutic (likely both physically and mentally). But now, his number has been called and he’ll likely have to jump right back in the swing of things on someone else’s schedule.
And given the state of the bullpen as of now …
- Steve Cishek (31 pitches last night)
- Pedro Strop
- Kyle Ryan
- Tyler Chatwood (45 pitches/3 IP on Sunday)
- Rowan Wick
- Derek Holland
- David Phelps
- Duane Underwood Jr.
… the Cubs might need to lean on Strop sooner than later. Here’s hoping he’s all rested up and ready to go, because the Cubs have a division to win.
UPDATE: I wonder if the Cubs believe any injury is ever serious?
Maddon said Kintzler injury isn’t serious and they just want to take a conservative route in letting the inflammation settle down.
— Jeff Arnold (@JeffArnold_) August 6, 2019
I’m kinda kidding, sure. The truth is that each individual’s rehab process needs to be considered, planned, and scheduled on its own merits, not based on what else is going on around the team. But when the Cubs almost always say it’s not serious, while guys are dropping like flies, well … it’s like. Come on. It’s a little serious, right? Otherwise, one of these guys might pitch through it during a heated, August playoff race.
I’m not saying they *should* – I rather have Kintzler and Kimbrel feeling good in September/October than August. But I am saying it can’t be all precautionary.