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BCB After Dark: Always be closing

The late-night/early-morning spot for Cubs fans asks which pitcher will be pitching the ninth inning for the Cubs in 2023.

Chicago Cubs v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

It’s another evening here at BCB After Dark: the groovin’ get-together for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. You’re just in time this evening. Come on in out of the cold. And maybe the rain or snow. We’re warm and dry in here. There are still some tables available. The show will start shortly. Bring your own beverage.

BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.

Last night I asked you about two of the Cubs National League Central rivals, the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The results were very interesting to me because the two polls came out with exact opposite results. As far as which team would have the better record in 2023, 54 percent of you picked the Reds. But when it came to which team would make the playoffs first, 54 percent of you said it would be the Pirates. I’m curious as to the reasoning behind those who said the Reds would be better in 2023 but the Pirates had a brighter future. I can see some reasons for it (one might think the Reds just have a better roster right now but like the long-term prospects on the Pirates better), but I’m wonder if that’s the reason or if people are thinking of some other reason.

Here’s the part where I talk about jazz and movies. You’re free to skip ahead to the baseball question at the end. You won’t hurt my feelings.

Tonight’s jazz track is dedicated to all you Beatles fans out here. It’s pianist Brad Mehldau (and no one else) playing “Blackbird” on a Steinway & Sons piano. I mention the brand of piano because the video is clearly an ad shot at their piano factory in Hamburg. Still, if all ads sounded like this, I wouldn’t complain. This is just from last year.

You still have time to vote in last night’s BCB Winter Noir Classic between The Postman Always Rings Twice and Scarlet Street. I’ll announce the winner of that contest tomorrow and start the next contest between Jules Dassin’s Night and the City and Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing. Those are two first-rate directors in that matchup.

By the way, if you were nice enough to buy this dress worn by Ida Lupino in They Drive By Night for me at auction, you shouldn’t have. I really wanted it, but I didn’t have $19,200. Nor did I have anywhere to wear it.

Welcome back to everyone who skips the music and movies.

The Cubs are closing in on what looks to be the roster that they’re going to go into Spring Training with. The are likely to add another first baseman and they’ll probably sign some players to minor league deals with invites to Spring Training. There may be a trade—Nick Madrigal doesn’t seem to have a role on this team at the moment—but I wouldn’t count on anyone major coming in for him.

So with the roster somewhat set, I’m going to ask again a question that I’ve been asking since the Cubs traded Craig Kimbrel for Madrigal and Codi Heuer: Who’s the Cubs’ closer?

David Robertson ended up leading the Cubs in saves last season with an unimpressive total of 14. Of course, Robertson was dealt to the Phillies at the trade deadline, so he’s not a candidate to repeat in that role this year.

In second place was Rowan Wick with nine saves, but he also blew five saves and was removed from the closer’s role at the end of August. Rookie Brandon Hughes finished the season as the Cubs’ closer and he had eight saves.

Recently added free agent Brad Boxberger only had one save with the Brewers last year, but he has lots of closing experience in his past. In 2018, Boxberger saved 32 games for the Diamondbacks (in 40 opportunities) and he saved 41 out of 47 chances with the Rays in 2015. Still, that’s not a lot of recent closing experience.

There are other candidates as well, such as Adbert Alzolay (coming off an injury-filled 2022) and Mark Leiter Jr., who pitched well and saved three games last year.

So as things stand at the end of 2022, who will save the most games for the Cubs in 2023?


Who will lead the Cubs in saves in 2023?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    Adbert Alzolay
    (54 votes)
  • 16%
    Brad Boxberger
    (53 votes)
  • 13%
    Codi Heuer
    (44 votes)
  • 24%
    Brandon Hughes
    (81 votes)
  • 0%
    Mark Leiter Jr.
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Michael Rucker
    (1 vote)
  • 9%
    Keegan Thompson
    (30 votes)
  • 6%
    Rowan Wick
    (23 votes)
  • 12%
    Someone else (leave in comments)
    (41 votes)
330 votes total Vote Now

Thank you so very much for stopping by. Let us get your hat and coat for you. It’s cold out there. Please get home safely. Recycle any cans and bottles you might have brought. Tip you waitstaff. And join us again tomorrow night for another edition of BCB After Dark.