The wait is over. The recently acquired closer Craig Kimbrel has been called up from Triple A Iowa and will be with the Cubs today when they host the Atlanta Braves at Wrigley Field. Kimbrel has been a stud in the closing department but the Cubs probably need some hitting the way the they have been playing lately! Kimbrel was the last closer to lead the league in saves 4 years in row as a member of the Braves from 2011-2014. Maybe Kimbrel’s addition will give the Cubs the shot in the arm. they need. The Cubs lead the NL Central by 1 game over the Brewers but they are 4-6 over their last 10 games. The Cubs get ready to hit the road against NL Central Rival Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and a couple of games on the South Side against the White Sox July 6th & 7th. To make room for Kimbrel the Cubs optioned pitcher Tony Barnette to Triple-A Iowa.
Kimbrel has been pitching with Triple-A Iowa since June 16. He threw a perfect, two-strikeout inning Tuesday, in all the 31-year-old right-hander has made four appearances with Iowa, including back-to-back outings over the weekend, and given up two hits, a walk and a run against four strikeouts. Kimbrel’s fastball has sat in the 95 mph range along the way. That’s down from Kimbrel’s ~98 mph career average, though there’s understandably no concern on the Cubs’ part. “It’s not about results or velocity, it is getting in game shape and building that foundation,” president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said this week (via Bruce Levine of 670 The Score).