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Fog Lifting Over Surging Cubs

By bullpenbrian - May 8, 2012 - 1:30 am Leave a comment.

Cubs win 5-1 vs. Braves Monday night. That’s 3 wins in the last 4 games.

Since starting (3-11), the Cubs have won series against St. Louis & L.A., and split series vs. Philly & Cincinnati.

The Cardinals lead the Central division. The Reds are second. Los Angeles has the best record in the National League and the Braves lost for just the 8th time in the past 26 games.

What does it all mean? It means our woeful Cubbies are competitive, and may have a shot at reaching the .500 mark by June. Who would’ve thunk it?

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Mr. Meltdown Strikes Again

By bullpenbrian - May 4, 2012 - 2:30 am 2 comments.

Let’s not get caught up in Dale Sveum’s semantics. The skipper’s not “considering removing Carlos Marmol from the closer’s role.”

Marmol is as good as gone. The real question is what took so long?

Watching Marmol toss meatball sliders has been frustrating to no end, and a red–faced Todd Hollandsworth said as much on CSN Chicago following Marmol’s latest meltdown.

“You owe it to the rest of the clubhouse to fix this situation…this will beat a clubhouse up.”

Just when everything was looking up, too. Dempster off the DL with his 0.95 ERA, three home runs in one game, a 3-0 lead heading in to the ninth and the potential for a 4-2 road trip through Philly & Cincy on the horizon.

Carlos Marmol, C’mon on down!

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Trading Carlos Marmol

By bullpenbrian - April 30, 2012 - 3:00 am 5 comments.

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.

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Cubs Déjà vu All Over Again!

By bullpenbrian - April 25, 2012 - 1:10 am Leave a comment.

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.

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Cubs Bullpen League Worst

By bullpenbrian - April 10, 2012 - 11:00 pm Leave a comment.

There’s no reason for over-reaction to the Cubs (1-4) start less than a week into a marathon long season.

However, there’s plenty of reason to be concerned with the Cubs shaky bullpen after five games.

Chicago’s ‘pen is sporting an (0-3) record with an unflattering 7.24 ERA.

In 13.2 innings of work they’ve allowed 11 earned runs on 16 hits, one home run and 12 walks vs. nine strikeouts. Obviously, that’s extremely concerning.

To make matters worse, the two go-to-guys, Carlos Marmol & Kerry Wood, have accounted for six earned runs and three blown saves.

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Cubs Spring Stats Hot & Cold

By bullpenbrian - March 16, 2012 - 1:01 am Leave a comment.

 

Hot Spring Batters:

Average

Extra Base Hits

RBI

A. Soriano

.450

7 (4 HR)

6

J. Mather

.444

3

6

D. Barney

.421

4

7

 

Cold Spring Batters:

Average

Extra Base Hits

RBI

G. Soto

.200

x

x

D. DeJesus

.167

2

x

J. Vitters

.154

2

2

 

Hot Spring Pitchers:

Record

Games

Innings

ERA

R. Lopez

(0-0)

3

7.0

2.57

J. Samardzija

(1-0)

2

6.0

3.00

L. Castillo

(0-0)

4

5.0

1.80

 

Cold Spring Pitchers:

Record

Games

Innings

ERA

M. Garza

(1-1)

2

3.1

16.20

C. Marmol

(1-1)

4

3.2

17.80

T. Wood

(1-1)

2

2.2

20.25

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Cubs Wish – Carlos Marmol

By bullpenbrian - February 8, 2012 - 2:01 am Leave a comment.

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Ranking NL Central’s Closers

By bullpenbrian - February 1, 2012 - 2:01 am Leave a comment.

Here’s how I see it…

  Team Name Saves BS K ERA
1. Mil Axford 46 2 127 2.10
2. Pit Hanrahan 40 4 61 1.83
3. Cin Madson 32 2 62 2.37
4. Cubs Marmol 34 10 99 4.01
5. St. Lou Motte 9 4 63 2.25
6. Hou Lyon 4 4 6 2.40

 

1.) MILWAUKEE

John Axford blew his first save opportunity last season on Opening Day in Cincinnati. Turns out, the hard-throwing righty would only blow one more game all season.

Better still, the Brewers traded for Francisco Rodriguez in mid July. K-Rod never posted a save with Milwaukee (he had 23 for the Mets prior to the trade), but shined setting up Axford with a 1.86 ERA in 31 appearances helping the Beer Makers to the NL Central crown.

Despite Frankie’s public outcry to return to a full-time closer’s role, which assumingly won’t happen in Milwaukee, he and the Brewers surprisingly came to terms on a 1-yr, $8M deal–thus helping solidify Axford’s top ranking as the division’s best closer.

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Cubs Should Use Wood As Closer

By bullpenbrian - January 12, 2012 - 2:01 am 4 comments.

Now that it appears the Cubs will sign Kerry Wood before Friday’s Cubs Convention, I’ll repeat what I’ve said many times before: it’s time to put Wood back where he belongs–in the closer’s role.

Although dominating at times, Carlos Marmol regularly struggled last season to find his command.

His bouts of wildness resulted in nine hit batsmen and a league-high 10 blown saves–figures which only reaffirmed my belief Marmol is a better set-up man than a closer–and put the Cubs on red alert for its closer’s position heading into the offseason.

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Cubs Pitching Staff 2012

By bullpenbrian - December 19, 2011 - 1:01 am Leave a comment.

Projected pitching staff with current roster.

STARTERS:
-Matt Garza RHP
-Ryan Dempster RHP
-Carlos Zambrano RHP (updated Thursday January 5th)
-Chris Volstad RHP
-Randy Wells RHP
*Jeff Samardzija RHP

MIDDLE RELIEF:
-Andrew Cashner RHP
-Chris Carpenter RHP
-Marcus Mateo RHP

LEFT HANDED RELIEF:
-James Russell LHP
-Sean Marshall LHP

CLOSER:
-Carlos Marmol RHP

ON THE BUBBLE:
*Casey Coleman RHP
*Rodrigo Lopez RHP
*John Gaub LHP
*Scott Maine LHP

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