I can’t remember a time when there will be so many question marks heading into the 2010 off-season for the Chicago Cubs. Who will end up managing the club in 2011? Who will make up the Cubs starting rotation beyond Ryan Dempster and Randy Wells? What will the outfield look like? Who will man 1st base after so many strong years from Derrek Lee? Besides Carlos Marmol closing out games, who else will be in the Cubs bullpen? It is going to be a free-for-all this off-season and in spring training – let’s hope there is a lot to look forward to in February of 2011…
Tom Gorzelanny got a chance to start on a regular basis for the Cubs once Carlos Zambrano self-destructed both out of the rotation and then off the team in the 1st half of the season. Gorzelanny has been good and bad this season. He had several good starts early in the season, but always seemed to be on the losing end of games because he didn’t get the necessary run support. For example, in his 1st 6 starts, he allowed more than 2 earned runs only once, but had a 1-4 record with 1 no decision. He won the 1st 4 starts of the month of July, not allowing more than 3 earned runs in any of his starts. He even bumped his record over the .500 mark at 6-5. But since that 6-5 win over the Cards at Wrigley Field on July 24th, Gorzelanny has struggled. Has he hit a wall? In 25 2/3 innigs pitched against the Rockies, Reds, Giants and Padres, Gorzelanny has given up 17 ER on 30 hits (3 home runs) and 10 walks. With the latest poor outings, his WHIP Has soared to 1.46 while his ERA is now close to the 4.00 mark at 3.85.
Gorzelanny matched Kevin Correja pitch for pitch last night through 4 innings, but then his hits and walks caught up with him. He gave up single runs in the 5th and 6th innings and then got into serious trouble when the Padres tacked on 3 runs to increase their lead to 5-0. He ended up yielding 5 ER on 9 hits and 3 walks in his 6 1/3 innings pitched. Gorzelanny has mainly been a pleasant surprise for the Cubs and he has been an innings0-eater when called upon, but he is nothing more than a 4-5 starter at this point. And given how the Cubs really don’t have an “ace” – please try to ignore the “ace dollar figures” that GM Jim Hendry has handed over to Zambrano and Dempster on a silver platter for non-ace-like numbers – the Cubs really need more out of a 4-5 starter than Gorzelanny has to offer. Maybe Gorzelanny can be used as trade bait this off-season, or maybe if the Cubs can sign or pull of a deal for a legitimate top of the line starter, then maybe the Cubs can settle on Gorzelanny in the 5-spot in 2011. But right now, unless Gorzelanny shows me that he still has some gas in the tank during his last 8 starts of the season, I think the Cubs will consider all possibilities ahead of Gorzelanny for a spot in the starting rotation.
As for the rest of the game, there were some good things and bad things.
Kosuke Fukudome kept up his hot hitting – 3 more hits including a 2-run double in the 7th inning that cut the Padres lead to 5-2. Gotta love the way he is hitting of late. It could help Hendry make a waiver deal for him over the next 6 weeks or a trade this off-season. Blake DeWitt had 2 hits including a 2-run home run in the bottom of the 8th inning. He has been as steady as they come since coming off from the Dodgers in a trading deadline move.
On the bad side, Andrew Cashner continued his struggled by allowing 2 ER on 3 hits in the 8th inning. Ditto for James Russell who also gave up 2 ER on 2 hits and a walk in the 9th inning. Both of these guys have shown signs of having what it takes to pitch in the major leagues, but right now they are just way too inconsistent to be reliable. Let’s hope that trends the other way over the next year or so.
Randy Wells looks to right his “sophomore slump” of a season against former Cubs draftee Jon Garland at Wrigley Field tonight. Wells is 0-3 in his last 4 starts, pitching past the 5th inning only once in the process…