A Chicago Cubs Blog
EST. 2007


Join The Bandwagon


Bullpen Brian's Tweets

How To Increase Carlos Marmol’s Trade Value

By bullpenbrian - July 18, 2012 - 5:15 pm 2 comments.

Carlos Marmol

I haven’t heard a peep during this month’s trade rumors about Carlos Marmol–not that I expected to.

His 10 saves in 12 chances is no indication of his continuous struggle to close games efficiently.

For Marmol, it’s not a save until he walks the first two batters, allows an extra base hit and then escapes the jam with an unconventional double play.

That’s not the kind of gamble contending teams are looking for, especially considering Marmol is under contract through 2013 for a hefty $9.8M.

Aside from the big-money owed to Marmol, his season numbers are even less comforting. He’s walked 30 batters in 27.1 innings pitched. The opposition’s OBP against him is .396 and his walks per nine innings is a team worst 9.88.

It must be killing Dale Sveum internally to keep running Marmol out for the save. But the skipper’s been towing the company line doing all he can to increase his closer’s trade value, what little there is, while jeopardizing his team’s success in the win column.

The fact is, Marmol has seemingly run out of time to prove his worth to a contending team, let alone, the Cubs.



Saturday Likely Ryan Dempster’s Final Home Start With Cubs

By bullpenbrian - July 13, 2012 - 3:15 am Leave a comment.

Ryan Dempster

All indications are Ryan Dempster will be traded sooner than later.

If Dale Sveum sticks to his current starting rotation, Dempster’s outing tomorrow afternoon will be his last as a Cub at Wrigley Field.

Unless Dempster suffers an injury or is bombed by the Diamondbacks, which seems unlikely given his 27.0 scoreless innings streak, he’s sure to be dealt before his next scheduled home start on Wednesday, July 31–which also happens to be the non-waiver trade deadline.

The feeling, of course, is Dempster will be traded long before the last week in July meaning his following two starts with the Cubs are scheduled road contests at St. Louis & Pittsburgh.


Dale Sveum Earns Thumbs Up

By bullpenbrian - July 9, 2012 - 3:00 am Leave a comment.

Dale Sveum

I’m giving Dale Sveum a thumbs up at the All Star break despite the Cubs    (33-52) record.

Doesn’t mean Sveum is without faults, but he’s largely steadied the Cubs leaky ship through the first three months of the season.

Not much has come easily for Sveum. The Cubs started the season (1-5), then came the 12-game losing streak, Soriano’s bum knee,Castro’s mental errors, Marmol’s continuous struggles…etc, etc.

But if not for Sveum’s steady hand the Cubs could actually be worse in the standings than 19-games below .500.


Cubs Have Fortnight To Replace Chris Volstad

By bullpenbrian - July 4, 2012 - 11:00 am 2 comments.

The way I see it the Cubs have 14 days to shore up the backend of its starting rotation.

Dale Sveum, citing a lack of ‘options’, confirmed Chris Volstad will get a second start before the All Star break, despite another dreadful showing against Atlanta Tuesday night.

It’s hard to believe Volstad will do whatever necessary to keep his turn in the rotation, and there’s little to justify giving the 25-year-old more leash.

There must be better options than Volstad: Casey Coleman, Rodrigo Lopez, Chris Rusin…


Playing Bryan LaHair Everyday

By bullpenbrian - June 30, 2012 - 2:45 am 3 comments.

What do the Cubs, with the worst record in MLB, gain by sitting Bryan LaHair vs. left-handed pitching?

The Cubs are (4-17) against southpaws. Their .221 avg. against left-handers ranks 15/16 in the National League.

Jeff Baker, who often serves as LaHair’s replacement against lefties, is hitting .228, 1 HR & 5 RBI against left-handers–not exactly tearing it up.

LaHair’s not hitting left-handed pitching any better (.086, 1 HR & 1 RBI), and he never will without an opportunity to prove otherwise.


Cubs Lose 17-1 | At Least It Was Sunny

By bullpenbrian - June 28, 2012 - 3:30 am 2 comments.

Wrigley Field Scoreboard

The only positive I could draw upon while walking away from Wrigley Field Wednesday afternoon was the nice weather–87-degrees and sunny.

I mean, what positives are there after a 17-1 drubbing against the Mets? Here’s the short answer: there are none.

The real kicker, however, was the Cubs lone run scored despite a continuous breeze blowing straight out to centerfield. That’s unheard of under such conditions.

Everyone knows the first order of business upon entering Wrigley is checking the centerfield flags–then comes the Vienna beef hot dogs and Old Style.


Cubs Tongue Lashing

By bullpenbrian - June 25, 2012 - 4:00 am 7 comments.

My head could explode from the Cubs’ lack of execution in the Arizona series.

Chicago played like a team expecting to lose, as they did, getting swept in three straight games while being outscored 21-7.

The Cubs failed on countless occasions to manufacture runs. They didn’t move runners over, they didn’t hit with RISP (3-for-25) and the biggest clutch hit came off the bat of Paul Maholm–a pitcher for heaven’s sake.

The fielding was nearly as poor. The pitching, not much better. It was Quade-ball all over again. It was embarrassing.

If there was any drive to win, any want from this team, it didn’t show collectively the past three games–and that’s a problem.


The Mortality of Anthony Rizzo

By bullpenbrian - June 24, 2012 - 7:05 am 4 comments.

This is a Guest Post by John Guminski. He’s a Junior at the University of Missouri majoring in Journalism.

As the Cubs dropped 2 out of 3 to the Red Sox a few days ago, I was sitting in my seats during the Sunday night game and heard the usual banter that seems to come after every error, strikeout, or loss.

“Did you hear Rizzo had another home run tonight? That’s 23! Bring him up! This can’t get any worse!”

Well, the time is almost here for the arrival of Mr. Anthony Rizzo. Manager Dale Sveum said, “It’s obvious he’s coming soon but we don’t have a date yet.” With all of this hype, I am afraid Cub fans are setting themselves up for potential disappointment.


Are Trade Rumors To Blame For Starlin Castro’s Slump?

By bullpenbrian - June 16, 2012 - 2:00 am 3 comments.

Starlin Castro is 1-for-17 on the homestand.

It’s not a frightening stretch by slump standards, but still very unusual for Castro.

Since making his MLB debut in 2010, Castro’s 423 hits are the most in the National League, including his NL leading 207 hits last season.

Castro also has the most multi-hit games (82) in the NL since the beginning of 2011, including (25) multi-hit efforts this season.

So it’s strange to see a guys who just hits, and then hits some more, struggle offensively.

But since the start of June Castro is hitting a paltry .203/.230/.339. He’s driven in but 2 runs and has 16 strikeouts vs. one walk. What gives?


Dale Sveum Nearly A Bean Eater

By bullpenbrian - June 15, 2012 - 1:15 pm Leave a comment.

I wonder what Dale Sveum’s thinking with the Red Sox in town this weekend?

It was only six short months ago Sveum appeared in position to become the next manager of the Red Sox–not the Cubs.

Boston, of course, eventually tabbed Bobby Valentine as its skipper citing his experience and heavy-hand outweighed Sveum’s.

But Boston has fared only slightly better than Chicago in the following six months. The Red Sox are one-game under .500 and tied for last place in the very competitive AL East.

It’s not Cubs bad, but it might as well be by Bean Town’s standards.


Our Sponsors