So, Craig Kimbrel Just Broke a 37-Year-Old (Good) Cubs Record

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So, Craig Kimbrel Just Broke a 37-Year-Old (Good) Cubs Record

Chicago Cubs

Insert your obligatory “2020” joke, because this is indeed some weird territory: Craig Kimbrel is now a Chicago Cubs record holder. And it’s a positive record.

Thanks to Jordan Bastian for the heads up:

On the one hand, you can’t break a 37-year-old record like that without pitching very well in certain ways. And on that same hand, it’s pretty incredible to see Kimbrel consistently racking up the strikeouts given where he was to open the season, unable to throw anything for a strike or get a batter to even flinch at his curveball.

On the other – more dominant, at the moment – hand, these appearances have come almost exclusively in low-leverage moments as the Cubs give Kimbrel an opportunity to continue working things out. There’s a reason his efforts haven’t changed the Cubs’ win probability much in any outing except two: his first dreadful outing in Cincinnati, and the one recent real save opportunity he got against the Reds, which he blew with wildness (interesting: both were really wild, and both were in Cincinnati). He’s not getting the ball in the biggest spots, so how much does it really mean that, like last night, he’s going out there and striking guys out?

I’d love to hope that there’s still enough time in the season for Kimbrel to work his way up to a legit setup appearance or two before the postseason. I doubt he replaces Jeremy Jeffress as the nominal closer at this point, but if Kimbrel could start taking a meaningful 6th or 7th inning? That would be huge for a team with a rotation full of holes and short outings.

For what it’s worth, during this nine-appearance, record-setting streak, Kimbrel has been KIMBREL with one big exception: 2.16 ERA, 1.50 FIP, 55.9% strikeout rate (LOL), but a 20.6% BB rate. That last number is what makes him nearly unusable in the biggest spots right now, no matter what the rest of the numbers look like.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.