Posted on 19 March 2012 by Lou
Travis Wood has had 2 bad starts this spring, so he got just what he needed in his 3rd start today. The Cubs scored 7 runs in the 1st inning to stake Wood to a nice 7-0 lead. All he had to do was come out and throw strikes and get outs. Well it didn’t work out that way, and his poor spring performance has all but assured Jeff Samardzija and Chris Volstad of the final 2 spots in the Cubs starting rotation heading into 2012. Sure Randy Wells has pitched well too, but he has been given the opportunity as a starter already and he really hasn’t taken advantage of it. It’s time for Samardzija to be given the chance to go out there and prove that he is a legitimate MLB starter. And with how dominant Volstad has been so far this spring, there’s almost no way to justify not making him your 4th or 5th starter.
But back to Wood – he gave back 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st on a Ichiro HR. In the 2nd, after giving up a run-scoring single to Chone Figgins, Wood threw a wild pitch that allowed Figgins to score to cut the lead to 7-4. In the bottom of the 3rd, he gave up a 2-run jack to Jesus Montero and then a game-tying solo HR to Kyle Seager. All 3 homers served up by Wood were the 1st homers for each player this spring. Not good. That was all Manager Dale Sveum needed to see in the 3rd as he yanked Wood after just 2+ innings – 7 runs, all earned on 7 hits and 2 walks. WOW! That Travis Wood for Sean Marshall deal is sure looking like a big mistake now. Let’s hope a year at Triple-A will help get Wood back on track.
Gotta love the Cubs bats today. They didn’t hit one HR in that 7-run 1st inning and all 7 runs were ER. A Starlin Castro double, an Alfonso Soriano sac fly, a Jeff Baker single, a 2-run single by Joe Mather, a David DeJesus single and then a Darwin Barney double. Can’t complain about solid hitting like that.
Posted on 14 March 2012 by Lou
Chris Volstad has a new lease on life and he has Cubs new pitching coach Chris Bosio to thank for it. Bosio has worked a little magic already with a few Cubs pitchers and it is paying off big time. Volstad tossed another gem in his 2nd start of the spring. He went 3 scoreless innings giving up just 2 hits with no walks and 1 strikeout. He and Jeff Samardzija have been the biggest surprises of the spring thus far and are going to make it tough on Bosio and Dale Sveum when figuring out the starting rotation in the next few weeks.
Lefty reliever Scott Maine worked a scoreless inning and he too has impressed so far. Maine has not given up an earned run this spring.
Posted on 09 March 2012 by Lou
Another great started from a Cubs starter – Chris Volstad tossed 3 scoreless innings, allowing just 1 hit with 3 K’s. Kerry Wood made his spring debut with a scoreless 4th inning. But then Carlos Marmol bucked that trend with a disastrous 5th inning. He only recorded 2 outs (both by strikeout) before being yanked from the game. He was charged with 4 ER on 4 hits including a home run.
I guess you have to take the good with the bad – let’s just hope this was a blip on the radar for Marmol this spring and that he can bounce back in his next outing…
Posted on 10 January 2012 by Lou
The Cubs continue to tinker with their starting rotation – inking lefty Paul Maholm to a 1-year, $4.5 million deal. The Cubs have a $6.5 club option for the 2013 MLB season or the Cubs can buy him out for $500,000. Maholm has pitched 6+ seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates after being selected in the 1st round by the NL Central foe back in 2003. He has a career 53-73 record with a 4.36 ERA. Despite having a “down year” in 2011 – he went 6-14 – it was also the 1st time in his career where he completed a full season with a sub-par 4.00 ERA (3.66). He is a sinkerball pitcher which could aid him in the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field – he has allowed less than 1 HR per 9 innings for his entire career and he has also averaged just 13 HR’s allowed person during his career.
GM Jed Hoyer had this to say about Maholm – “Maholm is a ground ball pitcher and Volstad is a ground ball pitcher so that’s important. It’s important to have a mixture on your staff. You don’t want a staff of all ground ball guys or all fly ball guys. You want to have pretty good diversity.” Maholm and newly acquired Travis Wood will serve as the 2 two lefty starters on the Cubs 2012 rotation. Hoyer went on to say – “I think we are very comfortable with the names we have. You never know what is going to happen over the course of the winter and what is going to be available to us. But what we said was that a huge priority was building depth. We feel like we’ve really done that.”
These guys are going to turn the Cubs into World Series contenders, but they are nice innings-eaters and should keep the Cubs in ball games during the 2012 MLB season. It won’t always be pretty, but it is what it is…