Game Seventy-Two – Cubs 2 Twins 7
The Cubs collected only 5 hits, a walk and a home run against Johan Santana while Carlos Marmol fell behind most of the batters he faced. Marmol did not pitch as bad as his line looks (5 2/3 innings, 6 hits, 7 runs, 4 walks and 3 strike outs)….2 of the 7 runs were allowed by Will Ohman but when your team is facing the best left hander in the game there is not much room for error.
Marmol retired the Twins in order in the 1st and 5th innings, six times Marmol ran the count to 3-2 and eight times Marmol had a 3 ball count on the batter. The Cubs defense made two spectacular plays….one by Juan Pierre and the other by Aramis Ramirez but the night clearly belonged to Johan Santana.
Santana threw 102 pitches in 8 innings (74 for strikes) allowed only 1 earned run (2 total) on 5 hits, struck out 6 and walked 1. The look of confidence and composure he has on the mound is something the entire Cubs pitching staff could only hope to have one day, he is truly a special pitcher.
Carlos Marmol has the stuff to one day be as good as Santana….with the right coaching and a little more time. At times on Friday night Marmol looked tremendous. He has good movement on his fastball but his command of his breaking pitches must be worked on. Like the start against the Tigers, Marmol fell behind early and the Cubs offense was unable to go anywhere, but back to the bench, against Santana. Of Marmol’s 106 pitches only 57 were for strikes….that ratio is indicative on how the night was. When Marmol threw strikes he was very good….but 50-50 is a horrible ratio.
Here is an interesting stat and one that shows a lot of potential. The first time through the line up the opposition is hitting .258 against Marmol, the second time through they are hitting .231 and the third time through the are hitting just .083.
Can Mark Prior show any improvement on Saturday? We shall all find out….