Tag Archive | "Sean Marshall"

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Carlos Silva Proves he is Still “Trade-Worthy” in Cubs 5-2 Win Over Astros in Houston – 7/26/10

Posted on 27 July 2010 by Lou

After 2 dismal starts right before and right after the All-Star Break, Carlos Silva pitched 5 “good” innings against the Astros on Monday night to prove he is still “trade-worthy” before Saturday’s looming trade deadline.  Kind of reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where Elaine deemed her then boyfriend Billy to be “sponge-worthy” for 1 (or more I guess) of the limited number of contraceptive sponges that she had left when the manufacturer decided to halt further production of the same.  In my opinion, Silva is clearly “trade-worthy” and I really hope that GM Jim Hendry can find a way to move the big (“beefy” big, not just good “big”) righty before Saturday’s trading deadline.

Despite giving up a 1st inning on 2 hits, Silva settle down and didn’t allow a run the rest of the way in his 5-inning start.  He pipcked up his 10th win of the season allowing just a total of 5 hits and 1 walk while striking out 4.  His season WHIP of 1.22 and ERA of 3.76 are much better than anyone could have imagined when the team acquired him in exchange for the troubled Milton Bradley.  Now as it turns out, not only did the Cubs get rid of a cancer in the locker room, they also acquired a pitcher who figured out how to re-invent himself in the National League.  His hefty salary for 2011 ($13 million) might limit the likeliness that he will be traded before Saturday, but if the Cubs are willing to eat some of his salary, who knows.  And who knows, even if they can’t move him this season, since the Mariners are paying $3 million of his salary in 2011, the Cubs could decide to keep him another year since he does eat up innings or a team could approach the Cubs this off-season to make a deal for Silva in the winter.

The Cubs offense got a LOT of hits – 13 – but scored only 5 runs. Once again, they blew a lot of good opportunities to break the game open, but at least they got enough good pitching to win the game.  Geovany Soto had a 2-run double to give the Cubs the 2-1 lead in the 2nd inning.  The Cubs added 2 more runs in the 3rd inning on a Marlon Byrd groundout and an Alfonso Soriano double.  Ryan Theriot also hti his 1st home run – a solo shot in the 6th inning – breaking a 700 at-bat homerless streak.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – you gotta love the young relievers in the bullpen.  Andrew Cashner came in in the 7th inning with 2 on and 2 out to end the Astros scoring threat.  And then Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol pitched scoreless innings in the 8th and 9th.  Cashner now has 5 holds, Marshall has 14 holds and Marmol has 19 saves.  Sure, depending on what happens, Cashner and Marshall could both end up in the Cubs starting rotation in 2010, but that lethal trio at the back end of a game looks pretty damn good if you are a Cubs fan.

Ted Lilly makes the Cubs start tonight in Houston in Game 2 of the series.  Will it be the final start in a Cubs uniform for the feisty lefty – guess we’ll have to see how things play out the rest of the week…

OH YEAH — Carlos Zambrano “apologized” to the Cubs organization in an interview with Pedro Gomez on ESPN – we’ll have more on that in the coming days as Big Z gets ready to re-join the major league squad at the end of this week in Colorado!

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Cubs Hang Tough Against Cards in Weekend Series @ Wrigley Field – Cubs 5, Cards 6 Saturday 7/24/10 & Cubs 3, Cards 4 – 11 INN – Sunday 7/25/10

Posted on 26 July 2010 by Lou

The Cubs showed some grit against the Cardinals over the weekend in a “must-sweep series” at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.  And while they could finish off the sweep on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, I was impressed with the fact that the Cubs actually won the series.

In Saturday’s 6-5 win, give credit to Tom Gorzelanny for pitching well enough for the Cubs to win.  He tossed 6 innings of 3-run ball (despite 7 hits and 3 walks) to pick up his 4th straight win and 6th overall.

Youth proved useful again as well.  Andrew Cashner tossed 2 innings of relief in the 7th and 8th innings to get the ball to Cubs closer Carlos Marmol with a 1-run lead.  Despite putting the tying run on with a walk in the 9th inning, Marmol got the job done with 2 K’s to pick up his 18th save of the season.  Tyler Colvin led off the game with a home run again and Starling Castro had 3 hits, 2 RBI’s and 2 runs scored.

In Sunday’s tough 4-3 loss, the longball came back to haunt Ryan Dempster again.  Dempster did not have his best stuff, but he gutted out 103 pitches over 7 innings to put the Cubs in position to win the game.  He gave up 9 hits and 4 walks and his 6th inning home run to Albert Pujols ended up tying the game at 3.

Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol each worked scoreless innings of relief, but Brian Schlitter served up Felipe Lopez’s game-winning home run in the 11th inning as the Cubs lost 4-3.  The Cubs had their chances against Chris Carpenter and 4 Cardinals relievers, but they could never push across that extra run in any given inning.  Marlon Byrd, Alfonso Soriano and Ryan Theriot each had 2 hits in the loss.

Carlos Silva goes for win number 10 on the season in Houston tonight.  Silva has not made it out of the 2nd inning in either of his last 2 starts, so let’s hope he puts together a good game tonight…

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Future Looking Bright for Chicago Cubs – Cubs 5, Cards 0 – 7/23/10

Posted on 23 July 2010 by Lou

Gimme a break, alright?! I’m just trying to stay positive as Tyler Colvin, Starlin Castro, Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner keep churning out impressive performances.  Now I haven’t forgotten that the Cubs are still 10.5 games behind the Cards for 1st place in the NL Central – even after today’s “easy” win.  It isn’t pretty, but at least some of the “kids” that we are betting on haven’t let the frustrating season get them down.

Tyler Colvin is clearly showing that he can play any outfield position every day of the season.  He led off the game with a home run to start the Cubs attack and he has a hit in 6 of his last 7 games.  He’s hitting .263 with a .320 on-base percentage.  In just 227 at-bats, he has racked up 14 HR’s, 37 RBI’s and 38 runs scored.  Not bad for a guy who didn’t become a starter until the middle of June.

Starlin Castro followed up Colvin’s HR with a single, although he was then erased on Derrek Lee’s double play.  He had 2 hits in the win which raised his average back up to an even 300.  July has been kind to Castro – he has a hit in 10 of his last 11 games in the month.  That includes 3 3-hit games and 4 2-hit games.  Simply put – the kid can play and it seems like he has adjusted to other teams’ adjustments to him over the last month or so.  After starting off the season red-hot, Castro’s batting average fell all the way down to .255 on June 24th.  But he has really turned it around since then and hopes to finish the rest of 2010 strong.

Randy Wells has also turned it around of late. Today, Wells worked 7 scoreless innings, giving up just 5 hits and 3 walks.  That makes 4 out of 5 starts in which he has allowed 1 run or less in each start.  The other start – he allowed just 3 ER on 6 hits and 1 walk in a solid 7-inning quality start against the Dodgers in L.A.  Can’t complain about that at all.  After a very slow start, Wells seems to have re-gained his focus.  He lowered his WHIP to 1.37 and his ERA to 4.07 and hopes to finish the 2nd half strong to get back to at least 10 wins (he has 5 wins now).

While Andrew Cashner did not pitch today, his numbers have been phenomenal for a rookie pitcher pitching in tense game situations.  In 23 2/3 innings in 21 appearances, Cashner has a 2.28 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP.  He has given up just 6 ER on 19 hits, striking out 17 against 12 walks.  More importantly, Cashner has rebounded from an “unlucky” stretch back in June when he suffered losses in 3 consecutive appearances.  Now that is pretty tough to do as a reliever, but it never seemed to derail the 23-year old rookie.  In fact, since that 3rd loss on June 30th, Cashner has a win and 2 holds in the month of July.  He has given up just 5 hits and 3 ER in 10 appearances in July and has become a trusted option for Manager Lou Pinella in late-game situations.  You gotta love his toughness.

And we cannot forget about Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol being “relatively young” as well.  Marshall threw 2 scoreless innings today, lowering his WHIP to 0.99 and his ERA to 1.78.  The guy has been so efficient and reliable this season – he is the team’s best pitcher by far right now.  Marmol has had his share of shaky outings – but what closer hasn’t?  Marmol has a 2.78 ERA with an acceptable 1.26 WHIP.  He has racked up 17 saves, while blowing 4.  Most importantly, he has had better control this year than he has had in each of the last 2 seasons.  In 45 1/3 innings, Marmol has walked just 33 batters while striking out 85.

Sure, the Cubs are 44-53 and they trails the Cards by 10 games, but there are some nice pieces in the mix.  Once we unload a few contracts this season (Silva, Lilly, Lee) maybe we can bring in some fresh blood via free agency during the off-season that will mesh well the young talented core on the North Side.  Come on, we can be optimistic, right?!

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Thanks for the Memories Lou – Cubs Rally for Win over Astros in Support of Skipper – Cubs 14, Astros 7 – 7/20/10

Posted on 21 July 2010 by Lou

Thanks for the memories Lou – we are going to miss you – even though we know you already checked out midway through the “Milton Bradley saga” in 2009.  You led us to 2 consecutive NL Central titles and back-to-back playoff appearances for the 1st time in a long time, so we have a lot to be thankful for.  Even though the playoff sweeps and the awful last 2 seasons have been tough to bear, you are a good coach and a good man.

That being said, your team’s performance in 2010 has been so difficult to watch.  After losing to the lowly Astros on Monday night, the club fell behind 7-1 after 4 and a half innings before the team rallied for the win at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.

Ryan Dempster was downright bad – 7 runs (4 earned) on 8 hits and 4 walks in just 5 innings.  He struggled with his control and made a whopping 113 pitches in one of his shortest outings in 2010.

The top of the lineup was raking again:

Tyler Colvin – 1 for 4 with 2 runs scored.

Starlin Castro – 3 for 5 with 3 runs scored and 1 RBI.

Derrek Lee – 2 for 4 with 3 runs scored and 3 RBI’s.

But the real hero was Aramis Ramirez who hit 3 home runs and drove in 7 runs.  Finally!

Geovany Soto kept up his hot hitting as well – 2 hits including a solo home run.

Congratulations go to the Cubs bullpen as well.  Andrew Cashner has emerged as a legitimate major league pitcher – 2 scoreless innings in the 6th and 7th. Sean Marshall pitched a perfect 8th inning as did Closer Carlos Marmol.

The Cubs go for the series win on Wednesday afternoon with Ted Lilly on the bump…

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2 in a Row?! Chance of Series Sweep?! Hip Hip Hooray! – Cubs 6, Diamondbacks 4 – 7/6/10

Posted on 07 July 2010 by Lou

There must have been a full moon out this week – the Cubs defeated the D’backs 6-4 for their 2nd straight win.  A win tonight would give the Cubs a series sweep for only the 2nd time all season long (the Cubs swept the Brewers in Milwaukee at the end of April).

Carlos Silva picked up his team-leading 9th win by pitching 6 innings of 4-hit ball.  He gave up just 2 ER and 1 walks during his 75-pitch outing.

Sean Marshall had a rare rough outing  – 2 runs (1 earned courtesy of a Starlin Castro fielding error – his 12th of the season!) on 2 hits with 2 K’s in 1 1/3 innings of work.

Carlos Marmol picked up the 1 2/3 inning save – striking out 5 of the 6 batters that he faced.  It was Marmol’s 16th save of the season.

Aramis Ramirez finally broke out with 2 home runs and 4 RBI’s.  Ryan Theriot, Derrek Lee and Geovany Soto each had 2 hits as well for a well-balanced 11-hit attack.

Ryan Dempster can give the Cubs the sweep tonight with a good outing.

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Cubs End Streak – Win Opening Game of Series for 1st Time Since May 25th?! Cubs 9, Diamondbacks 4 – 7/5/10

Posted on 06 July 2010 by Lou

WOW – that was a long time.  The Cubs finally won the opening game of a series for the 1st time since they beat the Dodgers at Wrigley Field back on May 25th.  What an unbelievable stat.  The Cubs invaded Arizona and came out firing with a big 9-4 win after losing 14-3 to the Reds less than 24 hours before.  Cubs pitching gave up 8 home runs to the Reds, including 4 alone in an 8-run 7th inning.

Kosuke Fukudome got the Cubs off to a good start with a lead off home run.  The Cubs added 3 more runs in the 2nd inning on Starlin Castro’s 2-run triple and Geovany Soto’s RBI double.  Soto finished the day with 3 hits,  RBI’s and 2 runs scored – by far one of his best days as a Cubs in 2010.  Fukudome had 2 hits, 2 walks and 2 runs scored.  Alfonso Soriano also added a 2-run home run in the 9th inning – his team-leading 14th of the season.  Soriano also leads the team with 41 RBI’s.

Tom Gorzelanny was not great, but he pitched the minimum 5 innings to earn his 3rd win of the season.  He gave up 5 hits and issued 6 walks in his short outing, but kept the D’Backs away form the big inning – they would score only single runs off of Gorzelanny in the 3rd, 4th and 5th innings.  Although Andrew Cashner struggled in relief of Gorzelanny (1 ER on 2 walks and 1 hit in a third of an inning), the rest of the bullpen did great.  James Russell, Justin Berg, Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol closed the door by pitching 3 1/3 scoreless innings the rest of the way.  Berg struck out 2 D’Backs hitters, while Marshall and Marmol each struck out 3!

But more importantly, the Cubs finally got that monkey off their back by winning the opnening game of the series.  Will that lead to a series win – their first since they took 2 of 3 from the Oakland A’s from June 15th through the 17th at Wrigley?  Carlos Silva can make that happen with a good outing tonight.  Stay tuned…

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Opposing Pitchers Feasting on Depressed Cubs Psyche — Cubs 2, Reds 3 (10 innings) 7/1/10

Posted on 01 July 2010 by Lou

I am really starting to like digging deeper into the Cubs woes in 2010.  At this point, it is just as much psychological as it is physical.  The Cubs clearly have a HUGE mental block right now, as they drop another 1-run game, this time in extra innings.  This one was even tougher to take because of Tyler Colvin’s heroics in the bottom of the 8th inning.  Down 2-0 after having ZERO scoring chances in the game’s 1st 7 innings, Colvin came through with a clutch 2-run single that tied the game at 2-2.  Colvin smartly advanced to 2nd on the throw home and then moved over to 3rd base after Mike Fontenot singled to shallow left field.  But once again, a Cubs veteran failed to come through with a runner on 3rd base and less than 2 outs as Derrek Lee hit into an inning-ending double play.  All we needed was a fly ball, a little single somewhere, a slow ground ball out, an error!  But no, Lee has to hit into the double-play.

You knew the Cubs would find a way to lose the game.  They actually almost did in the top of the 9th as Carlos Marmol loaded the bases with only 1 out, but he struck out Orlando Cabrera and Joey Votto to end the threat.  They eventually did lose the game as Bob Howry gave up a 1-out single and then Sean Marshall picked a bad time to have his worst outing of the season.  Marshall faced 4 hitters giving up 2 hits, a walk and a run-scoring fielder’s choice play that sealed the Cubs fate.  The Cubs did manage to get 2 on in the 10th inning on a Starlin Castro single and Koyie Hill walk, but Colvin grounded into a game-ending double play to end the threat.

But back to my main point.  This team clearly does not have any confidence whatsoever.  They get good pitching, but can’t push across enough runs.  And when they do score enough runs, there always seems to be a collapse by the starting pitcher in the late innings or the bullpen in a tight game.

That being said, I really feel like a huge problem for the Cubs is the lack of consistent hitting.  Take a look at the last 2 games:

2-0 loss to Pirates on Wednesday – Brad Lincoln was making only his 5th career major league start.  In his 1st 2 starts he allowed 5 ER in each game with 6 innings pitched.  In his 3rd and 4th starts, he allowed 3 ER in each game and a combined 16 hits.  The kid clearly struggled against the likes of “poor-hitting” major league teams – the Nationals, White Sox, Indians and A’s.  But hey, against the Cubs, the kid looks like the next Cy Young, as he pitches 7 scoreless innings while giving up just 4 hits and 1 walk with 6 K’s.  In his previous 4 starts, he tallied only a total of 8 K’s!  Gimme a break.  Lincoln picked up his 1st major league win against the Cubs after going 0-2 to start his major league career.

3-2 loss to Reds today – Travis Wood was making his major league debut!  Through 7 innings, the Cubs managed just 2 hits and a walk off of Wood.  When Wood allowed back-to-back walks to start the 8th inning, Reds’ Manager Dusty Baker pulled the youngster and the Cubs eventually plated the 2 runners that had reached via Wood’s walks.  But up until that point, Wood had dominated a major league ball club with a payroll of over $140 million and he should have gotten the win if not for an inept Nick Massett.  That would have been back-to-back losses for the Cubs to young, inexperienced pitchers getting their 1st career major league wins.

It is a pretty dire situation for the Cubs right now.  Looks for lots of moves very very soon…

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Cubs Top Pirates 6-1 – 1st Win in Pittsburgh in 2010

Posted on 08 June 2010 by Lou

It was a rare win for the Cubs over the Pirates on Monday afternoon – a makeup game from the game rained out last week.  Carlos Silva won his 8th game of the season without a loss, tossing 7 scoreless innings despite battling a flu all game long.  Silva scattered 4 hits and 1 walk during the outing and needed just 102 pitches on the day.  Sean Marshall earned a 2-inning save – his 1st of the season.

Marlon Byrd went 3 for 4 with 2 RBI’s and 1 run scored.  Byrd has a 4-game hitting streak going – going 10 for 17 with 4 RBI’s and 4 runs scored during that hot stretch.  Ryan Theriot reached base 5 times with a double, single, 2 walks, and on a force play.  He scored a career-high 4 runs in the win.

With Reds and Cards losses, the Cubs cut their lead in the NL Central to 6.5 games.  Now the Cubs head to Milwaukee to face the Brewers where the Cubs pulled off a 3-game sweep back in late April.

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Cubs Fun Fact of the Day — Sean Marshall Perfect 5-0 in May

Posted on 28 May 2010 by Lou

Sean Marshall is a perfect 5-0 in the month of May.  He picked up the win by pitching 1 scoreless inning in the Cubs 1-0 win over the Dodgers on Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field.  It was Marshall’s 5th win of the month – no starting pitchers can even match that feat.  Marshall is the 1st reliever to win 5 games in a month since Dick Tidrow did so way back in July 1979.

Marshall had this to say about the accomplishment — “It’s very hard to do.  I’ve just run into some good luck and have gotten the opportunity to pitch in tight games and keep the score close.  Good things happen when you come in and keep the score zero or tied… In the first three games of the season, I was on pace to throw every game.  I like the wins better.”

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Cubs Take 2 of 3 from Dodgers @ Wrigley Field

Posted on 27 May 2010 by Lou

The Cubs took 2 of 3 from the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers as Wrigley Field this week.  It wasn’t all perfect, but at least the wins keep coming in.

I’m going to ignore most of the 8-5 loss to the Dodgers on Wednesday night.

Most notable – I was very disappointed in the Cubs hitting.  14 hits and you only manufacture 5 runs?!  The Cubs left 2 runners on base in each of the 1st 2 innings and only pushed 1 run across during those scoring chances.  In the 3rd inning, the Cubs actually had the bases loaded and nobody out, and they only scored 1 run on a Mike Fontenot hit by pitch.  Starlin Castro then grounded out to force an out at home, Koyie Hill struck out and Tom Gorzelanny grounded out to end the threat.  The Cubs had runners on base in every single inning but the 9th inning, but never seemed to be able to push through more than a run at a time.  The lowlight – Ryan Theriot grounded into inning-ending double plays in each of the 6th and 8th innings.  Not good.

Tom Gorzelanny – we may have seen the last of TG as a starter with the return of Carlos Zambrano looming.  Gorzelanny never seemed comfortable out there and he gave up a season high 7 runs (5 earned) on 7 hits and 3 walks over 5 innings.  It least he gave the team the 5 innings though – gotta give him credit for that.

Now on to bigger and better things.  Although it was a pitcher’s/defensive battle between Ted Lilly and Chicago-area native John Ely today, the Cubs eked out the 1-0 win late to make the Wrigley-faithful happy. The Dodgers actually out-hit the Cubs 5-4, but the Cubs made their hits count in the 8th inning.  Mike Fontenot entered the game in the 8th inning after an undisclosed injury to Jeff Baker and he promptly led off the bottom of the 8th inning with a triple down the right field line that Xavier Nady had trouble fielding.  After Geovany Soto struck out, Tyler Colvin (also in his 1st at-bat as he entered the game for defensive purposes), doubled to right field to drive in Fontenot with the 1st and only run of the game.  It was frustrating to watch Ryan Theriot pop out on a bunt attempt that would have brought another run in because the Cubs continue to struggle in those situations.  When you get a man on 3rd and less than 1 out, you have to get him home somehow, some way, and the Cubs have not been consistent doing that this year.

Ted Lilly was great –7 scoreless innings giving up just 3 hits and 3 walks with 5 K’s.  He did not receive a decision however.

Sean Marshall pitched a scoreless 8th inning although he did give up 2 singles in the inning.

Carlos Marmol struck out the side in the 9th inning although he did walk Blake DeWitt with 1 out.  It was Marmol’s 11th save in 13 chances and he has shown that he can close out games on a consistent basis this year.  He continues to lower both his WHIP (1.14) and ERA (1.52) with good outings.

Next up is a HUGE 3-game set with the Cardinals at Wrigley Field this weekend.  It should be a fun Randy Wells-Chris Carpenter duel on Friday afternoon at t he Friendly Confines – lucky for us, the Cards have a late afternoon game in San Diego today before heading to Chicago tonight – wonder who scheduled that one?

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