Well, that didn’t last long. Just five days after he was activated from the IL following a forearm strain, righty reliever Michael Fulmer has been placed back on the shelf with the same issue. You have to wonder whether he may have (been) rushed back as a result of Adbert Alzolay‘s injury, also a forearm strain, with the Cubs pushing for a postseason spot. Given that he was pitching through some discomfort prior to that first IL stint, it’s entirely likely Fulmer is out for the rest of the regular season.
He made just one appearance following his return, pitching two-thirds of an inning to pick up the save in the club’s lone win in Colorado. It was a typical nail-biter that displayed Fulmer’s penchant for getting himself into and out of trouble. Drew Smyly opened the 9th with the Cubs leading 5-4 and got the first out of the inning, then Fulmer came on and promptly walked the first batter he faced before hitting the next.
He proceeded to strike out the two subsequent batters to preserve the win and provide hope that not all was lost even with Alzolay out. Even if Fulmer had been available since then, the Cubs lost their next three games and didn’t need him.
In order to take the open spot in the bullpen, Daniel Palencia has been recalled just a day after being optioned to make room for Marcus Stroman. The flamethrowing righty has surrendered three earned runs over his last two appearances, but tallied eight straight scoreless outings with eight strikeouts and four walks before that. He’ll need to be at his sharpest with two of the team’s top high-leverage arms out.
Should the Cubs ever start winning again, expect Julian Merryweather to get save chances moving forward. He picked up the save in his last appearance all the way back on September 10 against Arizona, so he should be very well rested.