The Cubs announced Sunday that they have recalled right-handed pitcher Caleb Kilian from Triple-A Iowa and optioned left-handed pitcher Anthony Kay to Iowa. Kilian has made one MLB start this season in which he allowed seven runs on 10 hits over 3.1 innings, but he’s been working on a few things in the minors and appears to have corrected some mechanical flaws.
Though his 18% strikeout rate is well below his previous minor-league marks, he has posted a 2.43 ERA in seven games (six starts) dating back to June 21. He struck out 30 batters and walked 10 over 36.2 in that span, better than the 37 Ks and 18 walks he had in 51.2 innings prior. Now he just needs to figure out how to harness his talent at the highest level.
David Ross hasn’t said yet exactly how he plans to deploy Kilian, though it’s unlikely he would start in place of the struggling Drew Smyly, who is scheduled to go Monday in Queens. If that was going to be the case, Kilian would not have been called up today at the expense of a bullpen spot. Instead, he will probably fill the long relief role vacated when Javier Assad took Marcus Stroman‘s spot in the rotation. Hayden Wesneski had to go three innings in Friday’s loss, so Kilian might just be an emergy option for the afternoon.
The right-handed Kilian has fared much better against left-handed hitters this season, making him a good option to replace only lefty in the bullpen. Kay made 13 relief appearances for Chicago, pitching to a 6.35 ERA with eight walks and eight strikeouts. He was excellent against lefty batters but was crushed by righties, a lot of which was due to his rough garbage-time effort in a blowout win over the Reds.