Posted on 23 April 2011 by Lou
It was not the way the Cubs wanted to start the series with the Dodgers – an embarrassing 12-2 loss to a team that had been struggling to score runs. Boy is this going to be another fun season!
The Cubs pitching was simply awful.
Casey Coleman worked out of trouble during the 1st two innings before finally getting touched for 6 ER while retiring just 2 batters in a 6-run 3rd inning. Coleman’s line is a joke – 2 2/3 innings, 6 hits, 6 ER, 4 walks and a whopping 90 pitches!
Jeff Stevens line was not much better although he did allow just 1 hit in his 3 1/3 innings. Stevens allowed 3 ER on the 1 hit and 6 walks and he tossed a whopping 89 pitches! He really took one for the team which has major pitching issues with the recent injuries to Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner. Never thought I would see the day when 179 pitches from just 2 pitchers would only get you through 6 lousy innings.
John Grabow was the lone bright spot – 2 scoreless innings with 2 K’s – before Marcos Mateo had another disastrous outing. Mateo gave up 6 hits in the 9th inning as the Dodgers added 3 “insurance” runs to pad the lead.
Ugly, ugly, ugly.
Kosuke Fukudome was the lone hitting star for the Cubs – he had 3 hits in the lead-off spot. Starlin Castro is still stuck in a “mini-slump”. Castro has just 3 hits in his last 4 games, a streak spanning 17 at-bats. But he is still hitting .369 on the season.
Let’s hope Ryan Dempster fares better today against the Dodgers and can get at least into the 7th inning when he can had it off to Kerry Wood or Sean Marshall or Carlos Marmol to close the door in a Cubs win…
Posted on 09 March 2011 by Lou
Trouble Cubs fans — Matt Garza’s spring struggles continued as the big righty surrendered 5 ER in the 1st inning alone. Garza ended up working just 2 2/3 innings in his 2nd loss of the spring. Garza had major control issues as he walked 4 batters and gave up 6 hits. Not a good sign for a team that invested a lot of quality prospects in the bid to acquire Garza from the Tampa Bay Rays this off-season. The Cubs hope that Garza figures out his issues during the next 4 weeks before the start of the 2011 MLB Campaign.
The rest of the Cubs staff had some issues as well. Justin Berg allowed 2 more ER in 1 inning of work and his ERA now stands at 60.75. After a decent showing in some relief work in 2010, it looks like Berg will be headed down to the minor leagues to start the season. Esmailin Caridad had his 1st rough outing of the spring. He gave up 3 ER on 3 hits in the 9th inning of the loss.
Two pitchers looked good — Carlos Marmol threw a perfect inning with 2 K’s and has yet to give up a run this spring. Jeff Stevens worked a scoreless inning and lowered his ERA to 3.00.
Couple of big positives:
The Cubs did not commit a single error – shocking.
Marlon Byrd continued to swing a hot bat and seems locked into the 3rd position in the Cubs lineup. Byrd had 2 more hits including his 1st home run of the spring and is now hitting .650. He should see a lot of good pitches during the regular season in front of slugger Aramis Ramirez.
The Cubs continue to have a losing record this spring. Will it get any better once the real games start in April???
Posted on 16 June 2010 by Lou
How bad can it get on the north side in 2010? Just when you think it can’t get any worse, the Cubs find new ways to lose. The Cubs dropped the opener to the A’s 9-5 after waiting out an hour and forty minute rain delay before the start of the game. Everything unraveled for the Cubs in the top of the 4th inning of a scoreless game. After Carlos Zambrano issued a walk, a single and another walk to load the bases with nobody out, Big Z gave up a run scoring single to Mark Ellis. Big Z coaxed a force out at home plate to keep the bases loaded with 1 out and a chance to get out of the inning with minimal damage. But then Derrek Lee did something he had never done in his entire career — he committed fielding errors on back-to-back infield groundballs allowing 3 unearned runs to score. Instead of getting out of the inning with a 1-run deficit, the Cubs found themselves in a 4-0 hole. Not a good thing for a scuffling team.
Big Z actually helped his team get back into it in the bottom of the 5th inning with a run scoring single. He came around to score the Cubs’ 2nd run on Starlin Castro’s single. But he gave back the run in the top of the 6th inning on a single and a double to lead off the inning. Big Z ended up going 6 innings, giving up 5 runs (2 earned) on 7 hits and 3 walks. He also had 4 K’s.
The 7th inning brought more poor pitching from Jeff Stevens (3 runs (2 earned) on 3 hits and 1 walk) and more poor fielding from Tyler Colvin (2 fielding errors that led to an unearned run).
Tyler Colvin was the only Cubs player to have more than 1 hit – he also had the lone HR for the Cubs in the 8th inning. The Cubs lineup also had 9 strikeouts with only 2 walks.
Questionable Move of the Night — The Cubs had just cut the A’s lead to 5-4 with an RBI double from Chad Tracy and an RBI single from Koyie Hill with 2 outs in the 6th inning. Hill even advanced to 2nd base on the throw home, getting into scoring position with the tying run. So why did Manager Lou Pinella elect to stay with Zambrano at the plate instead of going with a pinch-hitter. Especially since Pinella replaced Big Z with Stevens in the top of the inning, it seemed like a perfect time to use a Xavier Nady or Jeff Baker against the lefty Blevins to try to get the tying run home. Pinella never gave a clear answer, throwing even more confusion into the disastrous night at the Friendly Confines.
Not sure how much more we can take of this awful play from the Cubs. Manager Lou Pinella must be just about ready to hand in his resignation papers at this point – I know I would be…
Posted on 23 February 2010 by Lou
Jeff Stevens is eager to show his stuff this spring and hopefully land a spot in the Cubs crowded bullpen. Stevens is competing with the likes of Esmailin Caridad, Justin Berg, Angel Guzman, Mike Parisi and Jeff Gray. Four pitchers vying for 2 spots in the starting rotation could also land in the bullpen at the start of the 2010 season depending on how that competition turns out – Tom Gorzelanny, Sean Marshall, Jeff Samardzija and Carlos Silva.
Stevens came over from the Indians in the Mark DeRosa trade, and spent most of the season at Triple-A Iowa. Stevens did make 11 appearances for the Cubs at the major league level, and although he posted a high 7.11 ERA, he held the other team scoreless in 7 of his outings. Now that he is a little more comfortable in the Cubs organization, Stevens is excited for Spring Training 2010 in Mesa where he can showcase his stuff. “Last year I was trying to make a good impression. I was new coming, coming over in the trade. It’s a little different now because I know everybody, people have seen how I pitch. You definitely want to come in and make a good impression.”
Let’s hope one or two of these guys really steps it up in 2010 to help out Carlos Marmol and John Grabow in the bullpen. A few of these guys have talent, so if they can provide consistent and reliable bullpen work during the course of the long MLB season, that could mean good things for the Cubs in 2010.
Posted on 05 December 2009 by Lou
It boils down to this – if the Cubs can find a taker for disgruntled, troublemaker Milton Bradley, then the Cubs and GM Jim Hendry could have a successful and productive off-season leading up to the 2010 MLB schedule. Hendry has already made moves – dealing the likes of Aaron Heilman to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Aaron Miles and Jake Fox to the Oakland A’s for prospects and to clear some salary cap space to sign new deals for arbitration-eligible players like Carlos Marmol, Sean Marshall, Ryan Theriot, Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot.
If Hendry can somehow find a team willing to take Bradley (full-well knowing that the Cubs will still have to pay a pretty chunk of the $21 million owed to him over the next 2 seasons), it will be a step in the right direction for Hendry. Hendry has had a series of bad years at the helm and with a new owner in place, Hendry needs to prove his worth to the Ricketts family. That will be easier said than done as Hendry’s bad moves have left the Cubs brass with little flexibility.
Hendry and Manager Lou Pinella plan to move Kosuke Fukudome back to his more comfortable right field position. Then Hendry can concentrate on finding a center fielder and 2nd baseman for the 2010 Cubs. Even though the Cubs did not offer arbitration to Reed Johnson, they have not closed off talks with his handlers. So Johnson could be back to patrol center field at Wrigley Field next season.
Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot are in the running for the starting 2nd base job, so it is unlikely that Hendry will pursure any options outside the organization for that position.
The Cubs could also be in the market for a veteran right-handed reliever to complement John Garbow in the pen. While the Cubs have a lot of up-and-coming young stars in the bullpen – Angel Guzman, Esmailin Caridad, Jeff Stevens and Justin Berg – Hendry and Pinella would love to see a little more experience back there in front of closer Marmol.
We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything good – Winter Meetings start next week in Indy…
Posted on 20 November 2009 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs and John Grabow have agreed to terms on a 2-year, $7.5 million deal that will keep the veteran reliever on the north side of Chicago. The Cubs acquired Grabow in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates during the trading deadline and became one of the Cubs most consistent relievers the rest of the season. He made 30 appearances for the Cubs during the latter half of the season and did not allow a single run in his 1st 12 outings. In 25 innings pitched, Grabow finished with a 3.24 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP and had 7 holds. His 75 appearances (45 with the Pirates) were a career high. He will provide a veteran presence for an otherwise young bullpen in 2010 and will likely serve as Closer Carlos Marmol’s primary set-up man in the 8th inning or against tough lefties. The other top candidates for the bullpen – Marmol, Angel Guzman, Sean Marshall, Jeff Stevens, Justin Berg and Esmailin Caridad – are all under 27 years old.
Grabow said it was a “no-brainer” for him to want to pitch for the Cubs for the next few years. He lives with In Arizona with his family so he won’t have to go too far for spring training. Plus he loved the atmosphere playing in Chicago – “I pretty much let everyone know before I left that I wanted to come back. It’s a good situation for me and my family and for the Cubs. They brought me in there, they made a trade to bring me there and I fit in right away… The atmosphere that’s inside the clubhouse, everyone gets along pretty good and it’s kind of a veteran team, and everybody goes about their business. I figured that’s a pretty good situation for me.”
Posted on 02 November 2009 by Lou
I am thrilled with the prospect of having Carlos Marmol as the Cubs’ closer for the entire 2010 MLB schedule. Marmol was a rock in save situations at the end of the 2009 season – racking up 11 straight saves (in saves situations) from August 23rd on. Marmol did have 3 hiccups in non-save situations, suffering 2 losses and giving up 5 ER on 5 hits and 5 walks in the process. But if you ignore those situations, Marmol was as reliable as it gets for a closer. Barring any off-season setbacks, Marmol should be good to go to shoulder the load for the Cubs in 2010.
Esmailin Caridad pitched very well for the Cubs at the end of the season, but his experience is a factor (he is only 26 years old). In 14 appearances, Caridad went 1-0 with a 1.40 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 17 strikeouts and just 3 walks. John Grabow also pitched well – 30 appearances, 3.24 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 16 strikeouts and 12 walks. Grabow is also left-handed, but he is a free agent and the Cubs and GM Jim Hendry still have a little work to do in order to sign him. The Cubs also have Angel Guzman, Aaron Heilman, Justin Berg, John Gaub, David Patton, Jeff Samardzija and Jeff Stevens.
Spring Training 2010 will give each of these players a chance to prove their worth as a reliable and dependable reliever out of the pen. Manager Lou Pinella and his staff will have to be at the top of their game to make sure they select the right combination of players that gives the Cubs the best chance to be successful in 2010.