Posted on 29 March 2012 by Lou
Jeff Samardzija locked up the 3rd spot in the Cubs starting rotation with his 6 scoreless innings against the Cleveland Indians in the Cubs 2-0 win on Wednesday. He scattered 3 hits and just 1 walk while striking out 5. He has had good outings this spring, but that was by far his best performance to date. The pressure was on, as Samardzija knew he had to bounce back from his last outing when the Rockies rocked the big righty for 7 ER. He answered the call and it looks like all the hard work that he put in this off-season – he showed up in Arizona back in November – really paid off.
Manager Dale Sveum had this to say about picking Samardzija – “I’s say it convinced me more than anything. He did a good job yesterday, especially because they had seven or eight left-handers in their lineup, which is always a test against a right-handed pitcher. He kept them off-balance, got weak popups. That shows he was controlling bat speed and doing a good job of it.”
Samardzija was thrilled and relieved: “We just kind of said thanks to each other, for me personally to get the opportunity to do it and they were happy I didn’t take it for granted and just show up and go through the motions. It felt good… You don’t know how many opportunities you’re going to get to start. I really wanted to give this a full head of steam and have a full shot.”
This is a great move. I like the idea of 2 veterans at the front of the rotation – Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza. Then you can throw Samardzija out there against other teams’ # 3′s and he is going to surprise a lot of people. Then you have a Chris Volstad who has had a good spring and may have favorable match-ups against some weaker starters. And then you might see Paul Maholm really take advantage of being in the #5 spot in the rotation. That will give him a little extra time with an extended spring to get up to full game strength, and he has been around the block once or twice. This rotation is going to surprise some people – you heard it hear 1st!
The Cubs also optioned Randy Wells back down to Triple-A Iowa…
Posted on 27 March 2012 by Lou
Paul Maholm was named the Cubs 5th starter, but with more outings like this, he could be a #1-4 in any team’s rotation. Maholm who battled the flu early in the spring and has been behind due to that, finally got in a long outing in Monday’s 2-0 win over the Padres. He pitched 5 scoreless innings, scattering 4 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 6. He lowered his ERA to 0.90 and he could be a nice surprise for the Cubs at the back end of the rotation.
The rest of the bullpen was just as masterful after Maholm departed in the 6th. Carlos Marmol allowed 2 runners on in the 6th inning, but got out of the game without giving up a run. Casey Coleman worked 2 scoreless innings allowing just 1 hit with 2 K’s. And spring training surprise Rafael Dolis looks to have all but assured himself a spot in the bullpen with another scoreless outing. He gave up a walk in the 9th but closed the door on any Padres comeback. He has yet to allow an earned run this spring.
The Cubs scored a run in each of the 1st 2 innings to give Maholm a little cushion and the rest was history. You would have liked to see more than 2 runs on 7 hits, but a win is a win, even in spring training.
Go Cubs Go!
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…