The Cubs’ bullpen has started to settle in and find its way after a rocky start to the season. And one big reason for that has been right-hander Ryan Tepera.
Tepera, 32, didn’t make the Opening Day roster after manager David Ross and the coaching staff decided to go with Dillon Maples and Rex Brothers instead. But since Brothers and Maples were optioned and Tepera was recalled, Tepera has become one of Ross’ most trusted arms.
He has taken on the role of the bullpen “fireman,” throwing in a variety of situations — both low- and high-leverage — from the fifth inning on. He has a 2.38 ERA in nine appearances and has eight consecutive scoreless outings since Aug. 2.
“He’s pitched in some very high-leverage situations in his career,” pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said. “You go back to what he did some of those years in Toronto, when he was kind of at the top of his game there.
“We’re not afraid to unleash him in any situation. I think what’s been more interesting, in talking to him, is making sure he knows he’s ready to go in some of the biggest moments, no matter where they are in the game.”
The cutter has been Tepera’s go-to pitch during his recent run of success; he has thrown it 41 percent of the time. Opposing teams have a paltry .059 batting
Tepera also has fanned 40.5 percent of the batters he has faced this season — 13th in MLB and 12th among qualified relievers.
“His experience helps out a lot,” Ross said. “You see a poise out there about him. But really, the two-seam/slider/splitter mix, I really like. He can cut it in on lefties if he needs to with the back foot.
“But he knows how to pitch. He knows how to use this stuff. He knows how to slow down the moment. He knows how to pitch to a scouting report with what his strengths are. All those things, I think, factor into what he’s doing.”
Adam, Miller to South Bend
Left-hander Jose Quintana and right-hander Tyler Chatwood were both activated from the 10-day injured list before Tuesday’s game against the Tigers. The Cubs optioned right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Ian Miller to alternate site South Bend in a corresponding move.
Adam was 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA in three games. Miller played in just one game as a pinch-runner.