Yes, Craig Kimbrel Showed Improvement

Before I begin, I want to come out and say that Craig Kimbrel has no business being the Cubs closer right now.

Now that I got that out of the way, Craig Kimbrel looked like he has improved based off of last night’s appearance in the Cubs 5-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals.

The part that stood out to me is how much more control he had on his breaking pitches. Majority of them seemed to go where he wanted them to go. That and the fact that he was constantly touching 97 mph on his fastball are very encouraging signs.

Yes, Perez and Mondesi both hit the cover off the ball, but I believe the problem with both of those wasn’t the actual pitch, it was pitch selection.

Let’s talk the Perez at bat. If Kimbrel had thrown a fastball first and then a breaking ball second, that at bat would have had a better chance of having a different outcome. Perez seemed like he was taking the first pitch no matter what, I know I would, a guy who has a history of control issues, I would be taking the first pitch 100% of the time. He knew if he got a breaking ball, that it had a good chance of not being a strike. That breaking pitch set Perez up perfectly for a fastball over the plate. He knew that Kimbrel was not going to want to go down 2-0 on him, that pitch was going to be 95ish and in the zone. If Kimbrel threw the fastball first and then the breaking pitch second he may have gotten Perez to bite on it and then he would have been ahead in the count 0-2.

The Mondesi at bat was annoying because Kimbrel threw him everything to try to get him out. Mondesi just fought off the good pitches, yes there were good pitches, before he got a fastball middle-in. He had more bad luck than bad pitches.

Craig Kimbrel is in a weird situation in his career. He is not the 100 mph shut down closer he used to be. He has to adjust and I think that he can do it. The issue of course is with the shortened season do the Cubs have time to let him figure it out?

Chipper

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Cover Photo: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

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