Browsing posts from April, 2012
It’s hard to believe Dale Sveum has any confidence left in Carlos Marmol.
Marmol’s performance Sunday, full of walks, wildness and unforced errors, has become common place for the right-hander. Not even a five-run lead could keep us from biting our fingernails.
The idea Marmol would improve from a dreadful 2011 season has nearly vanished. He’s allowed more walks (9) than innings pitched (7.2) and his five-runs allowed nearly matches his six strikeouts.
He’s also blown 2 of 3 save opportunities.
I’ve continually pleaded for the Cubs to return Marmol to a setup role, but it seems ever since he signed ‘closer money’ following the 2010 season it’s not a topic up for debate.
In the unlikely event Marmol does regain his form it’s probably best that doesn’t happen with the Cubs, or won’t happen with the Cubs.
No need to keep a veteran guy you can’t count on, especially with the game on the line and the club already in search of its future closer.
So why not let another club gamble on Marmol’s past success?
For all the reasons stated above it’s understandable why finding a taker for Marmol won’t come easily for GM Jed Hoyer.
Marmol still has another year remaining on his contract–and $9.8M is no small chunk of change. But I imagine there are real possibilities for finding Marmol another suitor.
Anyone opposed to calling the Cubs 5-1 win against Philly Friday night the best victory of the season? I’m not.
Not only did Chicago snap a 5-game road losing streak, Paul Maholm outdueled Doc Halladay, the offense manufactured some runs and Rafael Dolis held down a late inning lead for his first big league save.
Big tip of the cap to Maholm who evened his record at (2-2) with his deepest outing of the season, 6.1 IP.
You can’t ignore the fact Philadelphia is challenged offensively. They’re ranked 14/16 in the NL in runs scored (Cubs are 10th). Chase Utley & Ryan Howard are on the DL and J-Roll is mired in a 3-for-37 slump. But give Maholm credit for taking advantage.
At one point the lefty retired 15 batters in a row. He didn’t allow a singe base on balls and trusted his defense to gobble up 14 ground ball outs.
Huge outing for Maholm. Huge lift for the Cubs (7-13).
It’s a shame Bryan LaHair doesn’t qualify for the NL Rookie of the Year Award.
Once Major League players accumulate 130 at-bats or spend 45 days on the active roster of a Major League club they’re no longer considered rookies.
LaHair basically played just enough with Seattle in 2008 to extinguish his rookie status: 136 at-bats, 45 games played.
But it took LaHair another three season before he rejoined a big league roster, playing 20 games with Chicago last September.
For all intents and purposes, the guy’s still a rook, but it seems LaHair just can’t avoid the middle ground in his career.
Many view LaHair as a Four-A hitter. MLB views him as a veteran. What’s a guy to do?
So far, all LaHair’s done is hit. And when compared to the eligible National League Rookie of the Year candidates he’s unquestionably atop the list.
I know this post will be unpopular from the onset.
Tony Campana, with his blazing speed and boyish good looks, has won over throngs of Cubs fans, but that doesn’t make him an everyday player.
There’s no denying the kid’s been off to a hot start since joining the Cubs to replace Marlon Byrd.
He has five hits, four stolen bases and two sacrifices, enough for Dale Sveum to move him to the two-hole in favor of Darwin Barney. (Interesting because Barney is batting .304, 9 RS & 7 RBI from two-hole).
Campana, however, still appears overmatched at the plate. He’s struck out in nearly half his at-bats, often looking desperate to make contact.
Opposing pitchers have figured out his shtick, too. They pound the strike zone with hooks knowing the slap-hitter will flail wildly, which helps explain Campana’s lone walk and zero extra base hits.
Supporters of Campana point to the fact he’s only 25-years-old, a career .303 hitter in the minor leagues and plays a good center field. If Sveum would only give him a chance…
But I’ll remind you the same was said about Felix Pie four years ago, who had striking similarities to Campana’s game: singles hitter, fast, decent fielder and far too often overmatched offensively.
So what if the Cubs stole one Tuesday night. Back-to-back walkoffs against the Cardinals, I’ll take it.
The Cubs not only earned its first series win in 2012, but also ended St. Louis’ streak of 13-consecutive series wins dating back to last year, including the postseason.
However, Chicago got two very questionable calls from the umpiring crew to go in their favor: DeJesus’ slide home in the first inning and Campana’s steal in the 10th.
Had the umps made even one of the two calls correctly were probably left sulking over another Cubs loss and yet another solid start by Samardzija wasted due to a lack of run support. Water under the bridge this time…
How about Soriano hitting a low & away slider hard enough to drive in the game-winning run. Everyone watching knew what pitch was coming, but who knew Sori could actually hit it?
Bryan LaHair has put together two terrific at-bats in crucial situations the past two games: a 12-pitch walk on Monday and a game-tying home run Tuesday, which also marks his first hit against a left-hander this season.
I love this guy’s moxie. LaHair’s proving he’s not just a Triple-A phenom, but a true threat at the major league level. Now it’s just a matter of seeing if he can hit consistently for a full season.
Joe Mather dialed up exactly what Cubs fans and the team needed: an exciting win, against the Cardinals, no less.
The Cubs have dropped so many close games it felt good to finally win one and brush away the doom and gloom hanging over Wrigley Field, even if just for one night.
It also spared me from writing another post centered around the all too familiar story of a strong Matt Garza outing wasted due to a lack of run support, one which I’ll gladly save for a later date.
Congratulations to Tommy Grafton for being the first to Tweet back Ron Santo.
Stay tuned for future give-a-ways. I’ll be tweeting away the chance to win Cubs tickets in May.
Thanks for all your responses. Truly appreciate your readership.
Nationally renowned sports artist, John Hanley, is releasing a Ron Santo HOF Limited Edition Print this week.
Even better, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in Ron’s memory.
Hanley worked directly with the Santo family in capturing the gritty, dirty uniform style of play that became so memorable of Ron’s brilliant career on the field.
Santo was a 9 time All-Star, won 5 consecutive Gold Gloves, hit 342 HRs and led the NL in assists and total chances 8 years in a row.
Prints are available on Hanley’s website or by visiting the Cubs Clubhouse stores. Only 1,010 prints exist in the edition.
I’ll send out one free print via Twitter. Be the first to tweet ‘Ron Santo’ to @bullpenbrian.