Gregg emerges as stabilizing force for Cubs 'pen
MIAMI -- The hottest topic surrounding the Cubs' clubhouse has been the closer's role, and the uncertainty as to who will fill it on any given night.
Manager Dale Sveum has had three pitchers record multiple saves. Kyuji Fujikawa, currently on the 15-day disabled list, and Carlos Marmol have registered two, and Kevin Gregg has saved three games, including the last two in wins against the Marlins on Friday and Saturday after Marmol picked up the save in Thursday's victory.
"It's Dale's pick on what he wants to do, what's best for the team," Gregg said. "I never want to look at it as I'm competing against my teammates, because we're on the same team, we have the same goals, we're trying to accomplish the same things.
"Carlos is a good pitcher. He came in [Saturday] night in the eighth inning and got a big out for us."
With that said, however, Gregg still does prefer to be the man the team depends on to shut the door in the ninth.
"Of course. I love pitching in the ninth," he said. "I would hope Carlos says the same thing. I've always said on all the different teams I've been in, I hope every guy wants to pitch in the ninth. I hope every guy thinks he can pitch in the ninth. That's just going to make us better as a whole."
The Chicago bullpen as a whole has been on a hot streak. After starting the season with a bullpen ERA of 6.06 heading into April 18, Cubs relievers have dazzled with an ERA of 1.03 over the last 10 games. Nine of those 10 outings were combined scoreless ones, including all three games of the current series against the Marlins.
"I'm not going to really mess with anything right now in our bullpen," Sveum said. "It's about as good as it can be right now."
"We've thrown the ball well, but first thing you have to point at is our starters," Gregg added. "Our starters have gone deep into games, gives us a chance to go deep into games, which does allow us to be in a better spot as a bullpen, keep guys rested, keep guys using the roles that they're comfortable with."
It's important that the Cubs' bullpen be a strength of the team considering the number of close games the team plays. Twenty of Chicago's 23 games thus far have been decided by three runs or fewer. The other three -- by four runs.