Fan favorite Andrew Chafin becoming popular option in David Ross’ bullpen

Chafin has gained trust with Ross and become one of the Cubs’ primary high-leverage relievers this season.

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John Antonoff/Chicago Sun-Times

PITTSBURGH — When Andrew Chafin comes out of the Cubs’ bullpen, there’s no doubt whom it could be. With his long locks and mustache in full glory, Chafin makes his presence known on the mound.

Cubs fans had only a short time to get to know Chafin after he came over from the Diamondbacks at the trade deadline last season. But this year, the left-hander has become a fan favorite. It’s not uncommon to find a meme of Chafin and his mustache on Twitter.

Chafin, 30, has seen fans’ reactions to him on social media the last few weeks and has enjoyed becoming one of their favorites.

“I absolutely love it,” Chafin told the Sun-Times. “Fans here in Chicago are amazing. I’m just gonna let it ride, see what happens.”

“He’s hilarious and [has] such a good old-school approach,” pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said. “He’s a nut. When he’s off the field, he’s a different character, but, man, when the bright lights are on and he’s in between those white lines, he’s next-level.”

Chafin also has become a favorite of manager David Ross, who has turned to Chafin as one of his primary high-leverage relievers regardless of the matchup.

“He’s one of the guys that doesn’t shy away from the big moment,” Ross said. “He’s a guy that I talked about a little bit last year about a trust factor and somebody that you know can handle any situation you’re going to put him in.

“For lack of a better term, just like a bulldog mentality when he’s out there. Not shying away or scared of anything. That look in his eye when he takes the ball from me on the mound. The way he comes off the mound staring at me like he wants to fight me, it makes me smile. It’s somebody that I have a lot of trust in.”

In four appearances, Chafin has eight strikeouts and an ERA of zero. If there’s an opportunity to get outs late in a game, Chafin wants it.

“I just love the competition,” Chafin said. “I love going out there and getting the job done. And high-leverage situations make it a little bit more fun than non-high-leverage situations. I just like to go out there and compete, do my job and help the team win.

“For me, I don’t look at the situations. When that phone rings, I just go out and pitch. I’m not trying to think about it. I’m trying to keep it simple.”

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