The Cubs and Braves both made splashy moves for high-profile pitchers who remained unsigned a week into June, and both could factor in their current series. Dallas Keuchel was somewhat inexplicably activated for a start last week against the Nationals and he’ll face the Cubs Wednesday night at Wrigley. Craig Kimbrel has remained in Iowa to complete his tune-up, but his most recent outing should have been his last.
Craig Kimbrel just finished off an @IowaCubs 5-1 victory with a perfect 9th inning. Two strikeouts, 16 pitches and a fastball that sat 95-96 mph.
He looked ready.
— Alex Cohen (@voiceofcohen) June 26, 2019
With a fastball sitting 95-96 mph and a wicked curve, Kimbrel came on in the 9th inning and sat the Omaha Storm Chasers down in order. He needed 16 pitches because he got into two-ball counts on the first two batters and a full count on the last, but four of those calls were borderline. I’m talking in contact with the edge of the zone, a call he may get more often at the next level.
This was only Kimbrel’s fourth appearance with Iowa and the Cubs had said they wanted him to make around five, but he’s already checked off back-to-back games and the velocity is creeping up steadily. His breaking stuff is there as well and the closer said last week that he was already mentally prepared.
— Tommy Birch (@TommyBirch) June 26, 2019
You can listen to Kimbrel’s most recent outing as called by I-Cubs broadcaster Alex Cohen in the clip below, but be prepared to hear something similar from Pat Hughes as soon as Thursday. My guess: Kimbrel will join the Cubs Wednesday in Chicago and will be active for Thursday’s finale against his old team.