Craig Counsell

Is Héctor Neris' job as Cubs closer safe? Craig Counsell weighs in

Neris blew his fourth save opportunity of the season in a Monday loss to the Giants

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After Chicago Cubs closer Héctor Neris surrendered a three-run home run to Thairo Estrada in a 7-6 loss to the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field on Monday, manager Craig Counsell was asked about his job security as the ninth inning specialist.

Counsell had a blunt assessment of the situation, saying that Neris’ performance on Monday wasn’t overly bad and that he doesn’t plan on making a change at closer after the game.

“I wouldn’t anticipate doing that,” Counsell told media after the game. “We had the catcher’s interference, we had a walk and, frankly, (the Estrada home run) is a fly ball. It’s the wrong night to give up fly balls. The walk was the only bad at-bat.”

Neris has appeared in 28 games for the Cubs this season, with a 6-2 record and a 4.73 ERA. He does have 10 saves, but has also blown saves in four other opportunities, with the Cubs now in the lead among National League teams with 16 blown saves on the season.

The Cubs had a 6-3 lead after Ian Happ’s three-run home run in the seventh inning, but slowly watched it fade away. Mark Leiter Jr. gave up a solo home run to Patrick Bailey in the eighth inning, leaving the Cubs with a two run lead heading into the ninth.

Jorge Soler reached first base on catcher’s interference with one out in the inning, then Mike Yastrzemski walked, bringing Estrada to the plate.

He lofted a ball into the ferocious winds that buffeted Wrigley Field throughout the evening, with the ball barely clearing the left field wall to give the Giants a 7-6 lead.

The Cubs were then retired in order, losing yet another game at the Friendly Confines.

Now, with the third-most losses in the National League, the Cubs will look to right the ship on Tuesday night when they rematch with the Giants. Justin Steele will take the bump for the Cubs in the contest, which starts at 7:05 p.m.

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