White Sox’s Craig Kimbrel Makes Strong First Impression in ‘Pen – NBC Chicago


Craig Kimbrel Makes A Strong First Impression In The Sox Box Originally Appeared On NBC Sports Chicago

It didn’t take long for Craig Kimbrel to show the Chicago White Sox what he was capable of.

In two appearances in the South Side Reliever’s New Look since his acquisition in a Crosstown trade with the Chicago Cubs last week, Kimbrel has dazzled, living up to his reputation as a future Hall of Famer. He went 1-2-3 in a pair of lightning-quick, high-leverage innings.

It’s the kind of performance that shows why the White Sox felt the need to acquire it for their title race.

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“A few weeks ago,” CEO Rick Hahn said on deadline day when acquiring Kimbrel. “Kenny (Williams) and I wondered, of all the players that should be moved, suppose we can only get one, who would it be?

“And he and I got the same answer and he’s the player we got today.”

Kimbrel has been around long enough, of course, that he hasn’t had to do much to prove he can be a go-to late-inning man for a championship-seeking team. He ranks ninth on baseball’s all-time save list, has a World Series ring on his 2018 tour with the Boston Red Sox and is in the midst of a season of rebirth after his first two. years on the north side. it’s going so well.

With his two aimless frames in a White Sox uniform, his 2021 ERA is reduced to a microscopic 0.47.

“I had the opportunity to see him in Boston,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa, who worked at the Red Sox front office during their championship season, said on Friday. “And unfortunately I had the chance to see him in the National League, before when I was still (managing the St. Louis Cardinals).

“I’ve watched him on TV a few times this year with the Cubs. He looked really good on TV, he’s even better in person.

“So that’s a real asset. We would like to be able to have the lead this weekend, with the guys we have to shut down.”

Kimbrel, of course, was not brought in to play the role of savior, however. He was brought in to team up with Liam Hendriks, who signed a huge free agent contract over the winter to get closer to the White Sox, to form a menacing back from the bullpen to fuel a run in. deep playoffs.

While some initial reactions to the exchange were questions of how a closer timeshare would work between Hendriks and Kimbrel, two of the game’s best ninth inning men, La Russa assured that there would be no of narrower controversy. Hendriks said loud and clear that there was no ego in the White Sox box and offered his services for every set from the first to the ninth.

So far everything has worked out and it looks like the two All Stars are quickly becoming friends.

“We’re just going to do our job,” Kimbrel said on Friday. “It’s a great energy. It’s an energy that you want to have around you, and that kind of energy fuels everyone. I can never complain about that.”

And certainly, there were no complaints in the White Sox clubhouse when Kimbrel was the squad splashing deadline addition. While the White Sox weren’t thrilled to see their teammates Nick Madrigal and Codi Heuer treated on the north side, Kimbrel was the kind of boost a competitor receives in the middle of summer, a front office message that this quest for the World Series is a serious one.

“They did a really good job, a great job,” White Sox first baseman José Abreu said of the front office efforts through team interpreter Billy Russo. “They had a clear plan. We only knew about that plan at the end. It was good. I think we, the players, appreciate the effort and the work they did. has put in a very good position.

“I was really surprised. Everyone knows that the quality of the pitcher (Kimbrel) is the year he had with the Cubs. Better to have him on our side than to face him.”

The White Sox have asked Kimbrel to give their team a boost ahead of a race – and what they’re hoping for, until October. They have established themselves as contenders without him. Now they are hoping to step up to favorite status with him.

“The winning teams expect to win. I think that’s what I’ve seen so far,” Kimbrel said. “Everyone expects to win every night, and that’s what winning teams have to do. That expectation can be a good thing. You have to have it when we get there in October.”

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