Justin Wilson, Randy Rosario keys to Cubs’ bullpen without Carl Edwards Jr.
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NEW YORK — As the Cubs contemplate bullpen life without Carl Edwards Jr. for the foreseeable future, they cling to a few encouraging facts as they try to keep the late-inning crew productive without overusing anyone.
‘‘You just have to move it around a little bit differently,’’ said manager Joe Maddon, who lost Edwards — his top eighth-inning choice — to inflammation in his right shoulder this week.
Edwards, who might miss a month or more, was a key part of a bullpen that had the third-best ERA in the majors (2.68) entering play Friday.
The bullpen has been the Cubs’ biggest, most consistent strength in the first two months of the season, especially with much of the rotation struggling for stretches.
‘‘You’re going to miss C.J. Edwards; anybody would,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘But I think if I move it around well enough, I think all these guys can have some success.’’
That means elevating the role of left-hander Justin Wilson, who has had command issues since being acquired in a trade last July but who allowed only one run in May (0.71 ERA).
And rookie left-hander Randy Rosario might get increasingly important assignments. He took over for starter Tyler Chatwood with two on and one out in the sixth Friday against the Mets and retired all five batters he faced. He has made four scoreless appearances in three big-league stints this season.
Steve Cishek, who leads the bullpen with 27 appearances, and Pedro Strop also allowed only one run in May. Cishek had a 0.75 ERA and Strop a 0.77 ERA in the month.
‘‘It’ll be interesting to pop him in there a little bit more often,’’ Maddon said of Rosario. ‘‘[Strop] can do that stuff and Cishek. And Rosario could be the real outlier here, along with Justin Wilson.’’
Albert vs. Mets
Center fielder Albert Almora Jr., who made another highlight-reel catch to end the first, also delivered three more hits against the Mets, his personal punching bag.
He has reached base in all 12 games he has played against the Mets in his career, going 18-for-33 (.545) with three doubles, a triple, a home run and nine RBI.
Almora robbed Jay Bruce of extra bases in the first with a long run to the gap in right-center and a slide onto the warning track for the catch.
Out of left field
One of these days, teams might stop testing left fielder Kyle Schwarber’s arm. When Schwarber threw out the Mets’ Michael Conforto trying to stretch a single into a double Thursday, it gave him five outfield assists this season.
That’s tied for second in the National League, one behind Brewers center fielder Lorenzo Cain. Overall, the Cubs have 11 outfield assists, the second-most in the majors behind the Mets (12).
This and that
Bruce left the game after batting in the fourth because of ‘‘lower-back discomfort,’’ the Mets said.
• The Cubs have seven shutouts through May, tied with the Dodgers and Pirates for the most in the majors. They had eight all of last season.
• Anthony Rizzo’s 28 RBI in May were second in the majors behind the Reds’ Eugenio Suarez (29) and the second-most he has had in a month in his career (30 last August).