It’s nice to have Craig Kimbrel back in the fold after his recent knee injury, and in his first save opportunity last night since returning from the Injured List, he looked as good as he’s looked all year.
Kimbrel got 4 swinging strikes on his 14 pitches, struck out one in his perfect frame, and most importantly, he had his liveliest average fastball of the year so far:
To be sure, he has historically been able to touch 99/100 mph at times, and he has yet to do that with the Cubs. However, he ramped up his velocity steadily last year, and wasn’t really in that consistent 98 mph range (with spikes to 99/100) until midseason (and then things fell way off late in the year and in the postseason). So, I mean, I’m just saying: if he followed that same trajectory this year, he’d be at his hottest fastball in the second half of September and in the postseason. Wouldn’t that be neat?
Of course, the reality is that because of his weird offseason and no Spring Training, we can’t really predict what the rest of his year will look like on the velocity side of things, much less in the results. For now, it’s just nice to see that he brought the heat in a save situation after his return from the IL. That’s a great sign no matter how you slice it.
And it’s just nice to watch him saving a game at Wrigley Field: