Just when the Chicago Cubs thought that they had all of their key players healthy and ready for their September playoff push, closer Craig Kimbrel hit the injured list with an elbow problem.
The Cubs placed their marquee, big-money reliever on the injured list in a surprising development for the team’s bullpen that has them wondering if they have the depth needed to overtake the Cardinals in a tight NL Central race.
Chicago currently trails St. Louis in the NL Central race by a margin of 2.5 games, and they hold a tenuous 2.5 game lead over Arizona for the second Wild Card spot in the league.
It’s hard to say if Kimbrel’s absence will end up being that big of a negative, despite his big-name status and big contract. The former Braves, Padres, and Red Sox reliever is having the worst season of his professional career, posting a 5.68 ERA in 19 games.
Kimbrel has struggled with issuing too many walks and with home runs this season, leading Cubs fans to have little confidence in their closer.
The team is unsure when their closer will return, but his healthy and productive presence would surely be important if the Cubs are to advance far in the playoffs.