The Cubs only made one change to their NLCS roster on Saturday, removing left-handed reliever Justin Wilson for right-hander Hector Rondon. The change doesn’t appear to be dependent on the southpaw’s postseason track record — he closed out a Game 4 loss with a scoreless ninth inning last Wednesday — but on his abysmal performance during the regular season.
Wilson, 30, started the year strong with the Tigers. He recorded 13 saves with a 2.68 ERA in 40 1/3 innings and was dealt to the Cubs at the deadline for Jeimer Candelario, Isaac Paredes and a player to be named later. Following the trade, however, he immediately began to tank, finishing the year with a 5.09 ERA, 9.7 BB/9 and 12.7 SO/9 through 17 2/3 innings.
That, more than anything, made Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon wary of using the lefty in the upcoming Championship Series. With Jose Quintana working on one day of rest and fellow reliever Wade Davis maxed out after a 2 1/3-inning outing on Thursday, the Cubs are expected to go to the bullpen early and often as they look for an advantage over the Dodgers. In Wilson’s absence, they’ll turn to right-hander Hector Rondon, who exited the regular season with a 4.24 ERA and made seven postseason appearances for the club in 2016, earning one win and one hold with eight hits, three runs and five strikeouts over six innings.
The Angels have placed Andrew Heaney on the 10-day injured list with left shoulder inflammation, the club announced Saturday. The move is retroactive to July 17, though it’s not yet certain that he’ll be cleared to pitch again by the end of the month.
It’s an unfortunate development for the 28-year-old southpaw, who has battled inflammation in his pitching elbow on and off since spring training. In fact, his arm issues date back several years, including the shoulder impingement that put him on the shelf in 2017 and the Tommy John surgery he underwent in 2016. With such a complicated medical history, it makes sense that the Angels would want to proceed with caution as they facilitate the lefty’s eventual return to the mound.
Given his ongoing struggles, Heaney has seen mixed results with the club in 2019. Prior to his recent IL assignment, he pitched to a 1-3 record in nine starts with a 5.09 ERA, 3.7 BB/9, and 10.6 SO/9 through 46 innings. Since the end of June, however, his starts have gotten shorter and shorter; he lasted just 4 1/3 innings in his final outing against the Astros, expending a tremendous 103 pitches and issuing two runs, two walks, and five strikeouts during the team’s eventual 7-2 win.
In a corresponding roster move, the Angels claimed lefty reliever Adalberto Mejía off of waivers from the Twins. Mejía, 26, is expected to be activated ahead of Saturday’s game versus the Mariners. Over 13 appearances with Minnesota, he turned in an 8.80 ERA, 7.0 BB/9, and 8.8 SO/9 in 15 1/3 innings.