Cubs pitchers have perfect nickname for new closer

Chicago Cubs v New York Mets
Chicago Cubs v New York Mets / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

The Chicago Cubs entered the 2024 season with an established closer. Adbert Alzolay excelled in that role down the stretch in 2023 and was given the job right out of Spring Training. Unfortunately, he struggled mightily to begin the season, forcing Counsell to turn to someone else at the end of games.

The Cubs turned to recent free agent signing Hector Neris to serve as the team's closer. The decision made sense, as he had racked up 89 saves in 10 seasons prior to the 2024 campaign, and it has paid off for Chicago so far.

Neris has six saves in six tries since being named the team's closer, but that's not to say it's been easy when he's been on the mound. Neris making things difficult at the end of games caused fellow Cubs pitchers to give him the nickname "Heart Attack Héctor” according to Hayden Wesneski. Couldn't be more accurate.

"We call him 'Heart Attack Hector' because you're right, he loves a good show," Wesneski told on Inside the Clubhouse with Bruce Levine and David Haugh on 670 The Score in Chicago.

Hector Neris' new nickname couldn't be more accurate

Neris has yet to blow a save since becoming the team's closer, but that doesn't mean he's been perfect when he takes the mound. In fact, he's been anything but.

Neris has only allowed two runs in nine innings since taking over the ninth-inning role, but he has given up six hits and walked seven. 13 base runners in nine innings is not ideal for a closer trying to protect a slim lead late.

Remember the controversial game against the Mets? Neris was the pitcher on the mound who was an inch away from blowing a save. He has allowed multiple base runners in four of his last six appearances. He keeps pushing the envelope but all that matters is the results. Neris has yet to cost the Cubs a game.

Is this sustainable? Probably not. Neris has a 5.76 FIP, which is thanks in large part to his 13 walks in 14 innings of work this season. While it might not last, Cubs fans will try their best to enjoy "Heart Attack Héctor" for as long as they can.