The Cubs bullpen has been excellent for the majority of this season, even as they’ve been without closer Brandon Morrow for nearly two months. While the Cubs have been planning on getting their best reliever back, it’s uncertain if that will happen.
"He felt good yesterday, so it seems like (Morrow) may be (back)." -Joe Maddon, who adds that if Brandon Morrow continues to progress the way he is, there's a good chance he'll return this season
— Bernstein & McKnight (@Bernstein_McK) September 11, 2018
#Cubs Morrow to throw bullpen on Wednesday
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) September 11, 2018
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So, the odds of the Cubs getting him back are better today than they were a week ago, but the odds he can pitch on back to back days are still extremely slim, plus who knows how effective he’ll be if pain and soreness continue to linger.
With that being said, bullpen depth has never mattered more for this Cubs core. Thankfully, a midseason trade acquisition, which at the time was just a blip on the radar, has completely dominated since he arrived in Chicago.
Your weekly reminder that Jesse Chavez has been worth more WAR (0.6) to the Cubs this season than Brandon Morrow, Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood combined (0.4 WAR).
— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) September 7, 2018
Since coming to the Cubs over the all-star break, Jesse Chavez has appeared in 24 games. He has thrown 29 innings during that span, striking out 33 batters while walking just three, good for a ridiculous 11/1 K/BB ratio. Those three walks have helped him keep his WHIP down at .83 with a 1.55 ERA.
He doesn’t have overpowering or overwhelming stuff, as his fastball tops out at 94 mph and he’s used his heater roughly 93% of the time as a Cub.
The secret to his success has been the variations of that fastball, as he throws a 4-seam, a sinker and a cutter that vary between 91 and 94 in velocity. The way he’s mixed and matched his speed and location of those three pitches has allowed him to dominate hitters in the zone, allowing just three home runs as a Cub to go along with a 2.54 FIP
With Carl Edwards’ command issues, Steve Cishek’s over usage (earned runs allowed in four of his last eight appearances), Joe Maddon’s insistence on using Justin Wilson primarily in “dirty” innings and Morrow’s availability still uncertain, Jesse Chavez should be the set-up man Maddon relies on the most as the Cubs try to hold off the Brewers down the stretch.
Just as we all predicted.