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Marmol Time!

By bullpenbrian - May 13, 2010 - 1:16 am Leave a comment.

I doubted Carlos Marmol as the closer.

Too many walks, too many hit batters…too wild for the ninth inning.

But Marmol is proving me all wrong!

He’s 5-of-6 in save situations…held the opponent scoreless in 13-of-15 outings…has 33 strikeouts in 16 innings pitched, which equals 18 Ks per nine innings…tops in all of baseball!

Marmol’s showing he’s still one of the game’s best relievers…and the right fit for the Cubs’ closer’s role, too.

But there’s just one problem…albeit, one that’s out of his control…the Cubs’ inability to give him a late-inning lead.

If…and it’s a BIG IF…the Cubs ever get it together offensively…Marmol’s looking at an All Star appearance…and the Cubs, a glimmer of hope for catching the Cardinals.


Cubs Swimming With The Fishes

By bullpenbrian - May 12, 2010 - 12:30 am Leave a comment.

The reality of the Cubs’ season is pictured above…these guys are sinking, not swimming.

Tuesday’s loss against Florida drops Chicago a season-low six-games below .500…and worse, 6.5 games behind St. Louis.

If the Cubs–somehow– manage .500 ball the rest of the way, they’ll finish with 78 wins…obviously, nowhere near what it takes to win the division, let alone, the Wild Card.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, can finish the campaign playing .500 ball and still reach 85 wins. But realistically, it’s more likely the Cards push triple digits in the win column come September.

It’s a pretty clear picture…our Cubbies are swimming with the fishes…and that’s an ugly truth for mid-May.

*Picture: Boston.com


Theriot Better Than Castro?

By bullpenbrian - May 11, 2010 - 1:00 am Leave a comment.

Ryan Theriot will never have the fielding talents of Starlin Castro.

The 20-year-old has a superior arm; he’s quicker and can cover more ground.

This was evident during spring training…Castro’s a fielding web-gem…Theriot, not so much.

But Theriot, however, remains the better fielder…why is that?


Cubs Hit But Can’t Score

By bullpenbrian - May 10, 2010 - 12:30 am Leave a comment.

How is it the Cubs have four regulars batting above .300 but can’t score enough runs to win a ballgame?

Theriot, Fukudome, Byrd & Soriano all rank in the top-11 for batting average in the NL…but the offense remains terribly inconsistently.

That falls on the shoulders of D-Lee (.210) and Aramis (.160), the club’s two biggest run producers…whose collective slump essentially has the Cubs playing without a three & four hitter…and, of course, it shows with a record four games below .500.

I’m not giving up on either one, but isn’t it about time Lou moves Lee from the three-hole and Aramis down to sixth…like permanently…at least until these guys come around with some plate consistency?

What else needs to sour before significant changes come to this lineup? Is a 1-5 road trip through Pittsburgh and Cincy not enough to signal the panic alarm?


Cubs Desperate For Starlin Castro

By bullpenbrian - May 9, 2010 - 12:45 am 2 comments.

Bitter sweet arrival for Starlin.

On one hand, he’s just what the Cubs need–a new spark to energize the club. On the other, it screams desperation.

Bringing a 20-year-old rookie to the big leagues undoubtedly has its drawbacks. If for no other reason than the tremendous ammount of pressure it puts on this kid, not to mention, pressure that significantly changes his learning curve and development as a major leaguer.

The Cubs, quite simply, are asking Castro to be better–and for him to do it sooner.

His spacial talents make him capable of both, but there will be some serious learning curves in between.


Soriano Back To Leadoff Spot?

By bullpenbrian - May 7, 2010 - 12:30 am Leave a comment.

Why not move Soriano to the leadoff spot?

For the past week the guy’s been pacing the Cubs’ lineup from the six-hole…batting 10-for-23 with 5 HR, 3 doubles and 11 RBI.

Maybe it’s the shakeup the lineup needs…maybe it keeps Soriano hot…and maybe it keeps the Cubs in contention a wee-bit longer?

Seriously, what could it hurt? The Cubs scored five lousy runs in three games against one of the worst staffs in baseball…and against three no-name starters, nonetheless.

Getting swept by Pittsburgh rules out any notion of a bad suggestion…and moving Soriano to the leadoff spot wouldn’t exactly be unheard of.

Sure, it’s not popular move, but what’s Lou to do? The Cubs need some offense away from home…Cincy is a great hitter’s park…and a temporary fix of Sori batting leadoff could salvage the road trip, perhaps even, the season.


Cardinals 97.7% Likely To Win Division

By bullpenbrian - May 6, 2010 - 12:30 am Leave a comment.

Four weeks in and the NL Central appears to be under wraps.

The Cardinals…keepers of the best record in the NL…and on pace to win more than 100 games…will win the NL Central crown.

At least, that’s according to AccuScore, which calculates the precise probability teams have of winning each game, winning their division, making the playoffs, advancing in the playoffs and winning the World Series.

St. Louis grades out at a 97.7% chance of winning the division, which indeed appears accurate given the Cards avoid major injuries to Pujols, Holliday or Carpenter.


Brian Roberts, Ben Sheets & Rich Harden

By bullpenbrian - May 5, 2010 - 1:30 am Leave a comment.

We wanted all three—Brian Roberts, Ben Sheets & Rich Harden—but the Cubs choose otherwise, not landing a single one due to scouting reports, money…or simply both.

Those decisions, as it turns out, proved wise on the Cubs part.


A Letter From Tom Ricketts

By bullpenbrian - May 4, 2010 - 12:18 am Leave a comment.

This is the letter I received from the Cubs Community Connection as a resident of Wrigleyville. It’s Tom Ricketts’ explanation for the Toyota sign going up in left field…

Dear Friends,

You’ve probably been hearing about the Toyota sign we’ve proposed for the back of the left field bleachers at Wrigley Field. As fans and neighbors, we want you to know why this is important to the team and how it can help preserve the Friendly Confines.


How Good Is Gorzo?

By bullpenbrian - May 3, 2010 - 12:30 am Leave a comment.

The Cubs scored more runs in the first inning Sunday, four, than they’ve averaged all season for Tom Gorzelanny…about 1.75 rpg.

The southpaw entered Sunday’s game as the best pitcher in baseball…without a win! (0-3, 2.45 ERA). But don’t blame Gorzo…the Cubs just don’t score runs for the guy.

Sunday, however, Chicago stakes Gorzelanny to an early seven-run lead…and sure-as-shootin’, the kid wins himself a ballgame. Imagine that.

It’s not like Gorzo needs a boat-load of run support, either. Actually, all he needs are three runs. THREE. RUNS!

Get this…in his last four starts he’s allowed just two earned runs apiecethat’s awesome! And, anytime you get that kind of production from a fourth starter…you’re in business!

Look, Gorzo’s no fluke; he managed a 14-win season with Pittsburgh…which is borderline remarkable.

All the guy needs is a little offense…and with it…there’s no telling where Tommy G. ends up in the win column…could be a 15-win season…maybe more? Only the Cubs offense really knows!


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