By Lewis Burik
One of the great things about MLB baseball is its unpredictability. Over a marathon 162 game season, players always emerge from anonymity to grab a piece of your heart as Cubs fans. The “nobody” who rises up to earn the respect of the ballclub and the city. Arriving with little fanfare, but delivering results night in and night out. Last year it was Mike Montgomery.
This year that guy is Brian Duensing. Duensing was an under the radar acquisition. And I don’t think I’m alone when I say I was hoping for Theo to snag a higher profile guy to be our lefty specialist out of the pen. Duensing’s first few appearances out of the ‘pen made me dislike and distrust him even more.
In early April, the guy was getting rocked every time he took the bump. Duensing in the game was an “Oh fuck” moment for the entire North Side.
But since then, Duensing has been spectacular. 50 plus innings pitched and a sparkling 2.50 ERA. While he doesn’t have the flash of Pedro or Carl, I trust this guy more than anyone in the ‘pen not named Wade Davis. What a rags to riches story.
And for every rags to riches story like Brian Duensing, there’s a story about a fat cat who is overhyped and underperforms. The dude who looks great coming off the bus, but can’t get it done when the lights are on. Last year it was Jason Heyward.
This year, that guy is Justin Wilson. When he arrived from Detroit a few weeks ago, many in the media were talking about him being the guy to replace Wade in 2018 as the closer of the future. Well since arriving on the North Side, Wilson has STUNK. He’s worked in 5 plus innings and given up a million runs. Every time he toes the bump, bad things happen. Can’t locate. Gives up hits to the bottom of the order. An ERA closer to 7.00 than 6.00.
The “closer of the future” talk has stopped. But we need Justin Wilson to start doing his job, and STOP being a liability. This team needs a little more Brian Duensing and a little less Justin Wilson.