As for which Cubs reliever gets the next save opportunity, stay tuned.
“I tell all the relievers I just like outs,” Cubs manager David Ross said Saturday. “We’ll get the best and I’ll try to set people up for the right pockets.
“If you have somebody that you can establish in the ninth, then it kind of works its way backwards to get to that spot. It is easier, I would say, to work that way from my seat, but not a necessity.”
The Cubs had an obvious closing candidate like that in recent seasons in Craig Kimbrel. The closer on a Hall of Fame trajectory was dominant in the first half of 2021 before being traded to the White Sox.
Without a Kimbrel-like presence in the bullpen, the Cubs didn’t name a closer this spring and are going with a committee approach. On Thursday, Robertson took the ball in the ninth.
Ross said it’s ideal to have a dedicated ninth-inning guy so the rest of the bullpen can work off him, but the goal is to get outs.
“If the guys are getting outs and we send them out the right pockets, it doesn’t matter,” Ross said.
The Cubs have flexibility among their late-inning bullpen arms to match up in any inning depending on the moment, not only for individual matchups for hot spots in the opponent’s lineup.
“If the biggest moment, the biggest pocket is in the eighth and David lines up the best to face these three, four hitters, then I’m going to bring him in in the eighth and try to lock that down.
“I think it’s leveraging the whole situation of the game. That’s the most important part.”
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