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Dempster Spells Smoltz

By bullpenbrian - September 15, 2009 - 12:50 am Leave a comment.

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Ryan Dempster is no John Smoltz.

The two hurlers, however, do share a common bond.

They’ve both successfully managed at least three-straight 20-save seasons followed by consecutive 10-win campaigns.

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Teddy All Star!

By bullpenbrian - July 6, 2009 - 1:15 am Leave a comment.

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Kudos to Ted Lilly.

The guy’s been the Cubs’ best pitcher all season long and is deserving of his All Star nod.

According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, Lilly gets an additional $75,000 bucks for earning a spot on the Mid Summer Classic. Not a bad incentive!

I said Saturday that I wouldn’t want anyone on the mound for a big game other than Lilly. Sunday showed why.

The lefty keeps pitching simple: pound the strike zone and limit walks.

Seven times this season, including Sunday, Ted has not walked a single batter. That’s huge!

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Happy Fourth of July Cubs Fans!

By bullpenbrian - July 5, 2009 - 1:34 am 2 comments.

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“This looks like a Little League game.”

That’s the comment I heard from a fringe Cubs fan at the ‘ol Fourth of July barbeque.

Sadly, she was right. The Cubs looked more fit for Little Cubs Field at Humboldt Park than they did playing at Wrigley.

Two runs, two wasted opportunities with the bases loaded, and too bad there wasn’t a mercy rule.

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Piniella Teaching His Cubs

By bullpenbrian - July 4, 2009 - 2:39 am Leave a comment.

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Ryan Theriot says Lou is teaching the game more than in seasons past.

Letting players learn the game from peers is effective, but takes much longer than simply teaching a player how to improve.

I give Piniella credit for taking a larger role in developing his players, both younger guys and veterans alike.

Regardless of the profession, those who continue to learn always rise to the top in his or her field.

Speaking of which, is Carlos Zambrano finally learning how to pitch?

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Derek Lee Playing Aramis Ramirez

By bullpenbrian - July 3, 2009 - 2:23 am Leave a comment.

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This is how the Cubs won 97 games last year.

Playing with passion, hitting the long ball and superb starting pitching was the team’s calling card a season ago.

Thursday showed the Cubs are still capable of such play, although consistency has been the main problem this year.

Derek Lee is doing his best to impersonate Aramis Ramirez. Much to my surprise, it’s been working.

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Marshall Belongs In Pen

By bullpenbrian - May 11, 2009 - 1:38 am Leave a comment.

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The Cubs should move Sean Marshall to the bullpen. Not because he’s pitching poorly, but because it’s a role better suited for him.

The guy throws too many pitches. He rarely last past five innings. I want more frames from a starter.

Sunday he tosses 97 pitches in five innings. The results were good, but you want as few innings as possible from Chicago’s unsettled pen.

Besides, in 55 career starts Marshall has lasted through seven innings just nine times, and eight frames once.

Keeping Marshall in the rotation only for his left-handedness is silly.

If it’s that important to have a southpaw starter why not trade for one???

And, put Marshall where he belongs — long relief and lefty vs. lefty situations.

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Brewers Lights Out vs. Cubs Pen

By bullpenbrian - May 10, 2009 - 2:08 am Leave a comment.

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Too bad the lights didn’t go out in the bottom of the seventh. That would’ve been the Cubs’ best chance to stay in the game.

Instead, we’re left to watch the Brewers bat around turning a close game into a blowout.

The pen issues six walks vs. two strikeouts. That’s ridiculous.

Question. Where do you go with this Chicago bullpen???

Cotts can’t find the strike zone with a GPS; Patton continues to show why Colorado left him unprotected on their 40-man roster; Fox’s career could very well be over after suffering another right elbow injury and, Heilman is terribly inconsistent.

If the Cubs can’t get the ball to Marmol and Gregg they won’t make the postseason, plain and simple.

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Cubs Trade Gathright For Freel

By bullpenbrian - May 9, 2009 - 12:29 am Leave a comment.

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Where was the urgency from the Cubs’ hitters in the top of the ninth?

The all-time saves leader, Trevor Hoffman, comes in throwing 85-mph meatballs and the Cubs stand in the box with bat on shoulder.

Chicago leads the NL with a (.394 avg.) when swinging at the first pitch in an at-bat. And, Hoffman is a guy you want to attack early in the count!

Yet, Miles and Hoffpauir go down looking. Then, Milton reaches for a pitch and grounds out weakly to first.

You’re down one run against a very hittable pitcher…find a strike and swing the bat!

Know the situation — and for heaven’s sake, don’t blame the home plate umpire for punching you out looking.

Nonetheless, we’re about to find out what kind of character the Cubs have on this club.

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Reed’s Rob Job!

By bullpenbrian - April 13, 2009 - 1:05 am Leave a comment.

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Reed’s terrific catch tops his grab from a year ago in Washington! Love the fact Prince tips his cap to Johnson after the play too.

Johnson replaces Bradley who’s lasted a whopping six games before suffering an injury. Now Lou probably sits M.B. for a couple of games, which is ideal if it keeps him off the DL.

Here’s the rub against Soriano: when he’s Hot he’s HOT…and when he’s Not he’s Not. It’s a give-and-take that’s hard for fans to adjust too – including myself.

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Sori Power!

By bullpenbrian - April 12, 2009 - 1:07 am 1 comment.

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Feels like the Cubs stole one tonight. That’s two clutch home runs from Sori in five games: Tuesday’s shot tied the game in Houston and tonight’s won it.

Old school Lou gives Cotts an earful after walking his batter in the seventh. New school Lou sends Rothschild to the mound to change pitchers. Either way, Lou gets his message across, which is the important thing.

Cubs have held a lead in every game this season, but the bullpen walks have to be addressed. Free passes cost Chicago a win Thursday, nearly did the same this evening as well.

And this speaks to the 118 pitches Z threw in just his second start of the season. But again, Lou knows he can’t rely on the pen right now in tight ballgames. That’s a major concern.

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