Cubs’ Craig Kimbrel up to 98 mph in spring training: ‘Everything works out’

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Maddie Lee
·2 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Kimbrel up to 98 mph: ‘Everything works out' originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

MESA, Aris. – The 98 on the radar gun surprised even Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel on Saturday.

“You’ll hear a lot of pitchers say that,” Kimbrel said the next day. “Some of the days where they have their best stuff, they were more worried about just picking the leg up and throwing the pitch. Not trying to do too much.”

That’s what Kimbrel was Saturday against the Rockies, when he retired all three batters he faced in order. Flyout. Strikeout. Strikeout. The Cubs have made it clear – again and again – that Kimbrel is their closer this season. After a rocky start to camp, the seven-time All-Star is making that decision look obvious with less than two weeks until Opening Day.

“You try to do too much, put too much effort into it, you lose life,” Kimbrel said. “I think that’s what I had a little yesterday. My ball had some zip on it, had a little more life than it’s had so far this spring training. When you can be nice and smooth and easy and try not to do too much, everything works out.”

Kimbrel allowed nine runs in his first three spring training outings, which wouldn’t have been a big deal if it weren’t reminiscent of the beginning of last season. Kimbrel lost the closer role early in the shortened season, while he worked through mechanical issues.

This spring, Cubs manager David Ross didn’t entertain questions about a closer controversy.

“We’ll go into the season with Craig Kimbrel as our closer,” he reiterated last week.

Kimbrel has allowed just one hit and no runs in his last two outings. On Saturday, Ross said, he talked with Kimbrel about his cues and gave observations on a couple pitches. But mostly they talked about how “free and easy” Kimbrel looked.

“I didn’t want to get upset about my first couple and then go out there and try to throw as hard as I can,” Kimbrel said Sunday. “That wouldn’t have been productive. So, I was able to kind of take it for what it was and learn from the first couple outings. And it seems like things have been moving along pretty well.”

Click here to subscribe to the Cubs Talk Podcast for free.

Download

Download MyTeams Today!