Posted on 29 March 2010 by Lou
Ryan Dempster is ready to dominate in 2010 and if he pitches like he did on Sunday, he will do just that. The Chicago Cubs beat the Seattle Mariners 1-0 as Dempster tossed 7 shutout innings. Dempster allowed just 4 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 9 batters. He was the 1st Cubs pitcher to make it into the 7th inning this spring and he was firing on all cylinders.
Dempster made these comments after the game — “I’ve been waiting for the season to start and that was as good as I’ve thrown the ball all spring by far.” After getting himself into a bases loaded, no out jam in the top of the 7th inning, Dempster struck out the side to preserve the 1-0 lead. He was excited about his ability to get out of the jam: “I was able to make pitches and bear down. Even though I didn’t get extended pitch-wise a whole bunch, the intensity of pitching into the 7th and having that be your most stressful inning, it was a lot of good work and a real good stepping stone for getting ready for the season…I put a lot of pressure on myself to prepare to do that and once the game starts, I figure the preparation I put in — and I did a lot this winter, I worked really hard and I’ve worked hard this spring to go out there and be ready for the season.” WOW – gotta like the attitude. If we get a re-focused Dempster like we had in 2008, the Cubs are going to be a much better balanced pitching team during the 2010 MLB schedule.
Two reliever finished off Dempster’s gem — Jeff Samardzija pitched a scoreless inning with 1 strikeout, while John Grabow picked up the save with a scoreless 9th inning. I hate to get too far ahead of myself, but the Cubs pitchers are doing a helluva job. Could this be the year?…
On offense, the Cubs managed just 5 hits, but Kosuke Fukudome’s lone hit on the day drove in Jeff Baker with the winning run.
One side note — Milton Bradley did not play in the game – what a pansy…
Posted on 23 March 2010 by Lou
Although Carlos Silva left the game as a precautionary measure with a sore right quadriceps muscle, Cubs pitchers performed at a high level the rest of the way. Silva gave up 1 earned run on one hit before his departure.
John Grabow pitched a scoreless inning of relief with 2 K’s.
James Russell and Esmailin Caridad each pitched scoreless innings as well – neither has let up a single earned run all spring. Justin Berg also pitched a scoreless inning and he has not allowed an earned run since his first spring appearance back on March 5th.
These are all good signs for a Cubs bullpen that has been criticized for the lack of experienced depth this spring. Sure they will be young, but if they are pitching well, no one will really care at Wrigley Field in 2010…
Posted on 22 December 2009 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs are still pursuing Matt Capps to be the go-to right-handed set-up man for Closer Carlos Marmol in 2010. The catch – Capps wants to be a closer and the Washington Nationals have offered him a chance to be the front-runner for the Nationals closer job.
Current Cubs reliever John Grabow who recently signed a 2-year deal with the Cubs and was a teammate of Capps with the Pittsburgh Pirates has personally petitioned Capps to sign with the team. “I basically told him about the organization and how the guys are in the clubhouse. If he comes to the Cubs, he’s coming to a contender.”
Capps had a down year in 2009 – 57 games, 4-8 record, 27 saves, 5 blown saves with a 5.80 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP. In 2008, those numbers were drastically better – 49 games, 2-3 record, 21 saves, 5 blown saves with a 3.02 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP. If the Cubs do sign Capps, they hope he can return to 2008 form very quickly…
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.