The Chicago Cubs entered Sunday in first place, but not without a giant question mark in the backend of their bullpen.
Craig Kimbrel has struggled early on this season, allowing four earned runs in the 1.1 innings pitched over the two games he’s appeared in thus far.
On Saturday, manager David Ross cast doubt on whether or not the right-hander will remain the team’s closer going forward.
“That’s a good question,” Ross told reporters, via ESPN. “I appreciate you asking that. I’m not sure on that. I’ll get back to you … I’m in the middle of conversations with Craig. We’ll have those with him first.”
Kimbrel did not close Saturday’s 4-3 win over the Pirates, which was not a save situation when the inning began with Kyle Ryan on the mound. Ryan allowed three hits, including a two-run home run while only recording one out before Ross opted to bring in reliever Rowan Wick to get the save.
Wick allowed an inherited runner to score from third base on a ground out, but managed to escape with the win.
Kimbrel had pitched the night before, entering the game with a 6-1 lead, but allowed home runs to Josh Bell and Colin Moran on back-to-back 97 mph fastballs before completing the inning.
In his previous outing, the 32-year-old managed to get just one out and walked four batters before he was lifted for Jeremy Jeffress to get the save.
“He’s frustrated,” Ross said. “He wants to work through it. He wants to be better. We’re here to help. We need him to be good if we’re going to have a lot of success.”