Craig Kimbrel is Back

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Craig Kimbrel is Back

Chicago Cubs

I don’t know that there’s much purpose in this post beyond underscoring that Craig Kimbrel once again looked like CRAIG KIMBREL last night. The guy the Cubs thought they were signing last year. The guy who didn’t show up last year, and took five outings to re-emerge this year.

The guy who was on a clear Hall of Fame trajectory before last season.

Pitching in a tie game in the 8th inning, Kimbrel was perfect, striking out two. He threw 16 pitches, 10 of which were called strikes, swinging strikes, or foul balls. The Indians could do nothing at all, and it’s all the more impressive that he was mostly just throwing the fastball (14 of 16).

And how about the location? Yeah, he threw a few really wild ones, as he does sometimes, but for the most part, it was art:

Following his first four outings this year, which were disastrous and he was working through serious mechanical issues, Kimbrel has a 1.59 ERA over 11.1 innings, with a 1.07(!) FIP, a 53.3% strikeout rate, and an 0.97 WHIP. I know you can’t just throw out appearances, but hey, if you could, Kimbrel’s been a top five reliever in baseball this year.

Bonus, he’s got some friends on the leaderboard since August 7:

I don’t feel the least bit nervous when Kimbrel comes in now. I *WANT* him in tight spots now. He’s Craig Kimbrel again. He’s back. And I’m glad the Cubs have him for the playoffs and for 2021, too.

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.