Chicago Cubs: Trade deadline acquisitions making big impact

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

The last of the Cubs’ deadline acquisitions was veteran reliever Brandon Kintzler.

At one point in his career, Brandon Kintzler served as the primary closer for the Minnesota Twins and converted 45 of his 52 save opportunities. He’s only thrown 3.2 innings for the Cubs, but Kintzler has shown that he can still thrive in that late-inning, high-pressure role.

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Three of Kintzler’s first four outings for the Cubs have come in the eighth inning of either a one or two-run game, and he’s pitched very well in those spots; he’s notched a hold in all three appearances. In the total 2.1 innings in those three games, he’s allowed one baserunner and gotten those seven outs with just 19 pitches.

Kintzler has primarily been a groundball pitcher throughout his career, but during his time with the Washington Nationals this season his 48 percent groundball rate is the lowest it’s ever been. In his short time with the Cubs, Kintzler has gotten back to his groundball ways by upping his sinker usage to 84.1 percent.

The returns on Kintzler are had to analyze through his first four outings, but thus far the signs point to Kintzler finding success as a Cub.

Kintzler won’t be the first in line to close out games or even pitch in big spots, but knowing that there is another arm in the bullpen capable of working in high leverage situations should be comforting to Joe Maddon. Kintzler may play an invaluable role in the back of the bullpen as the Cubs fight the Milwaukee Brewers for the NL Central crown.