The Cubs bullpen threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings in Tuesday’s 3-1 win over the Twins.
But beyond securing a win on the final day of August, Tuesday offered a potential glance into the Cubs' future and how they can close out games as soon as this season — and even next.
Manny Rodriguez, Codi Heuer and Rowan Wick each delivered scoreless appearances in relief, combining to toss four of those innings.
“The bullpen came in and picked each other up,” Cubs manager David Ross said.
Rodríguez showed potential to be a late-inning reliever in the big leagues while coming up through the minors. He’s the Cubs’ No. 27 overall prospect, per MLB Pipeline, and represented the club at the Futures Game this summer.
The 25-year-old pitched two innings Tuesday, entering in place of starter Zach Davies in the fifth. He worked out of an inherited two-on, one-out jam with an inning-ending double play.
Rodríguez induced another double play to end the sixth after issuing a one-out walk. In 14 appearances since making his MLB debut last month, he holds a 2.63 ERA and 0.95 WHIP.
There's no denying the Cubs acquired Heuer from the White Sox in the Craig Kimbrel trade due to his potential as a back-end bullpen arm. He's made a strong impression with his calm demeanor and hunger to take the ball in big spots.
Even on a night he didn’t look as sharp as he has in a Cubs uniform, Heuer didn’t allow a run in his one-plus innings. He lowered his ERA in 13 appearances with the Cubs to 1.20.
Wick has been talked about as a potential closer of the future for two years while becoming a fixture in high-leverage innings for the Cubs. He slammed the door with a 1-2-3 ninth inning, striking out two, to pick up his first save of the season.
“That's as good as he looked since he’s been back,” said Ross of Wick, who missed the first four months this season with an oblique strain.
As easy as it might be to envision Rodríguez, Heuer and Wick becoming a lockdown relief trio at some point, Ross doesn’t want to put pressure on them.
“I don't want to judge every night on who's in the future,” Ross said. “I think those guys tonight did a really nice job.
“I don't want these guys to feel like they're trying to make the team for next year every time out. We're trying to win some ballgames, and it was a nice job by them to help us win a ballgame tonight.”