Brandon Morrow earns first save for Cubs after long break
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MILWAUKEE — The Cubs did sign a closer to replace the departed Wade Davis this winter. There even was a rumored sighting — albeit, fleeting — in Miami last week.
But more than a week into the season, Brandon Morrow had yet to register an out, much less a save. He threw only two pitches at the end of that 17-inning loss in the second game of the season.
“We had to reintroduce ourselves to him,” teammate Jon Lester said after Morrow reintroduced himself to the ninth inning with a powerful performance to close out a 5-2 victory over the Brewers for his first save as a Cub.
“He was sharp for not pitching in a month it seems,” manager Joe Maddon said. “He had great stuff, great composure, mound presence, everything. He looked like a first-rate major-league closer.”
Flashing 97 mph velocity, Morrow put down the middle of the Brewers’ order with two strikeouts, allowing only Travis Shaw’s one-out single on a 3-2 pitch.
“That was huge to see from him,” Lester said.
Morrow, who didn’t have an idle stretch this long during his breakout season last year with the Dodgers, said he wasn’t worried about being sharp. He had warmed up several times for possible save situations, including during the ninth inning Friday. And on Tuesday, he threw an extended, vigorous bullpen session.
“It’s kind of a weird situation, I guess,” Morrow said before the game. “I’m doing OK. I’m not really an anxious person. I definitely, obviously, would like to get in. But mentally, it’s not like I’m freaking out or anything.”
The only batter he had faced before Saturday was the Marlins’ Miguel Rojas, who hit an 0-1 pitch into center for a walk-off single.
Morrow said he expected to pitch either Sunday or Monday to get one more appearance before a scheduled day off Tuesday.