Maddon: Chatwood Earned More High-Leverage Work

Tyler Chatwood has a 1.88 ERA since the All-Star break.

Laurence Holmes Show
August 19, 2019 - 1:45 pm

(670 The Score) As the Cubs' bullpen nears full strength after the recent returns of closer Craig Kimbrel and reliever Brandon Kintzler and with setup man Steve Cishek expected back soon from the injured list, manager Joe Maddon is also considering another wrinkle.

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That would be using long man Tyler Chatwood in more high-leverage situations. 

"Of course," Maddon responded when asked on the Laurence Holmes Show if Chatwood has earned more opportunities of that sort.

After losing his starting rotation spot amid a disastrous 2018, Chatwood has had a resurgent season while working primarily out of the bullpen, posting a 3.79 ERA in 27 appearances, including four starts. Chatwood has been particularly good lately, with a 1.88 ERA in 14 1/3 innings in the second half. 

Chatwood pitched two scoreless innings -- the seventh and the eighth -- in the Cubs' tight 2-0 win against the Pirates on Saturday. Maddon has the confidence to use him in more high-leverage situations, though his calculation of when to do so also involves the consideration of whether a game could reach extra innings, where Chatwood would need to be the long man.

"His own valuable nest really holds him back, because we're always holding him back for the 10th inning or the fifth or sixth inning (if a starter is pulled early) and then once his role has gone away, whether it's early in the game and it may never occur in the latter part of the game, now we got Kintzler back, Kimbrel back, (Pedro Strop) is in there, Cishek is on his way back, Rowan Wick has really ascended, Kyle Ryan has done a wonderful job," Maddon said. "So there's a lot going on there to get people involved. The other day, talking to (pitching coach) Tommy Hottovy, he's been telling me how well he's been throwing on the side. And it was just that moment, I wanted to try something differently. And he nailed down those first two innings (against the Pirates). I sent him out for the third one and when he walked a hitter on four straight pitches, Wick came in there and finished it off. But that's what Chatwood is capable of doing. One of those fastballs was 98, and none of the Pirates had good swings."