Wood and Marmol Implode, Give Another One Away – Cubs 4, Nationals 7

Game Two – Cubs 4, Nationals 7
WP – Ryan Mattheus (1-0) LP – Kerry Wood (0-1) Save – Henry Rodriquez (1)

What started out as a good game for the Chicago Cubs turned ugly again in the eighth inning. The Cubs took a 4-2 lead into the eighth after a solid start by Matt Garza and a two-out, two run triple by Reed Johnson and a RBI single by Joe Mather in the fourth.

Kerry Wood retired the first two hitters he faced quickly … and then it all fell apart.

Danny Espinosa went with a 3-2 pitch and lifted it into the bleachers in left. Ryan Zimmerman followed with a broken bat single to right on Wood’s first pitch and Adam LaRoche pulled a 2-0 pitch into right that put the tying run on third with two outs.

Dale Sveum went to his pen and brought in Carlos Marmol with two out, two on and the Cubs up 4-3 … and Marmol could not record an out. Marmol walked Jayson Werth on five pitches to load the bases. Chad Tracy was summoned from the bench and stuck it to the Cubs again. Tracy singled to right on a 2-2 pitch and plated Zimmerman and LaRoche with the tying and go ahead run. Marmol gave up a double to Roger Bernadina that plated another run and issued a walk to Wilson Ramos that reloaded the bases.

Dale Sveum went back to his pen and brought in Shawn Camp but Steve Lombardozzi reached on an infield single and drove in the Nationals’ fifth run of the inning. Camp retired Desmond on a fly out right for the third out.

The Nationals scored five runs on six hits with two walks in the eighth against Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol after two were out and nobody on base.

Kerry Wood took the loss after being charged with three runs on three hits in 2/3 of an inning and Carlos Marmol gave up two runs on two hits with two walks and no strikeouts without recording an out.

Saturday began on a positive note for Sveum and his team. The Cubs knocked Gio Gonzalez out of the game with two outs in the fourth inning. The Cubs ran, ran and ran and made Gonzalez uncomfortable on the mound. The Cubs first run actually scored on a wild pitch that got past Wilson Ramos as Castro took off for second base.

Starlin Castro extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a 2-for-4 effort that included two stolen bases. Castro has reached base safely in the last 42 games he’s played in … and has tied the third longest such streak in Cubs’ history. Gabby Hartnett reached base safely in 42 straight in 1937.

Reed Johnson (1-for-4 with a triple and two RBI) delivered in the fourth with a two-out, two run triple and Joe Mather (1-for-3 with a RBI and a walk) drove in Johnson with the Cubs’ fourth run. All four Cubs’ runs scored with two out on Saturday afternoon.

The Cubs offense had chances later in the game but could not come up with the big hit necessary to tack onto their lead.

Matt Garza’s effort will be lost in another bullpen meltdown. Garza allowed two runs on five hits (two-run homer by Adam LaRoche) with a walk and five strikeouts in six innings. Garza threw 91 pitches, 58 for strikes. Garza faced the minimum the first time through the lineup on 30 pitches, 22 strikes, and allowed just an infield single.

Rafael Dolis made his season debut and retired the Nationals in order in the seventh.

The Cubs have to figure out their bullpen issues and soon … they have already wasted two solid performances by Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza.

Matt Garza came out throwing strikes and faced the minimum on 12 pitches, nine for strikes, in the first inning. The Nationals did not hit a ball out of the infield.

Ian Desmond tapped back to a stumbling Garza on a 2-2 pitch to begin the game. Danny Espinosa hit a grounder to the hole at short that was ticketed for left field. Starlin Castro made an excellent diving stop, got to his feet quickly and threw a strike to Jeff Baker at first … the throw was just an eyelash late and Espinosa reached on an infield single.

Ryan Zimmerman grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the first … Castro and Barney made the double play look easy.

The Cubs ran, ran and ran … and also showed a lot of patience against Gio Gonzalez in the first.

After Reed Johnson was caught looking at a 1-2 pitch to begin the inning, Joe Mather put together a good at bat that resulted in a walk. Mather took off for second on a 2-1 pitch to Castro. Starlin Castro blooped a single into right center. Mather ended up at third on the hit and run. Alfonso Soriano popped out to left for the second out.

The Cubs’ shortstop took off for second on the first pitch to Jeff Baker. Castro swiped second as the ball got past Wilson Ramos and Mather scampered home from third with the Cubs’ first run on the wild pitch. On a 1-1 pitch to Baker, Castro got a running lead off second and stole third … first time in Castro’s career he stole two bases in the same inning. Baker worked a walk and Gio Gonzalez was obviously frustrated on the mound. Geovany Soto grounded out to Adam LaRoche on the first pitch to end the inning.

Matt Garza retired the Nationals in order on eight pitches, six for strikes, in the second. Garza threw 20 pitches, 15 for strikes, in the first two innings.

Other than a one out single by Darwin Barney, the Cubs did nothing against Gio Gonzalez in the second. Matt Garza could not get a bunt down after Barney’s single and Reed Johnson struck out swinging to end the inning.

The Nationals did nothing against Matt Garza in the third … Marlon Byrd made an excellent running catch to take away a hit from Gio Gonzalez for the third out. Garza faced the minimum through three on 30 pitches, 22 for strikes.

Joe Mather (ground out to short) and Starlin Castro (fly out to shallow right) went down quickly to start the bottom of the third. Alfonso Soriano reached out and ripped the first pitch he saw into center but Jeff Baker struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) to end the inning.

Matt Garza issued his first walk of the day to Ian Desmond (3-2 pitch) to start the fourth. Garza just missed on the 3-2 offering, it appeared to be a strike. Garza re-focused and struck out Espinosa swinging (2-2 pitch) and retired Zimmerman on a fly out to right (2-1 pitch).

Adam LaRoche stepped in and gave the Nationals a 2-1 lead with his first homer of the season. LaRoche lifted a 2-2 pitch down the line in right. The ball hit the foul pole for a home run. Garza retired Werth on a grounder to second (2-2 pitch) for the third out.

After throwing 30 pitches in the first three innings, Garza threw27 pitches in the fourth, 15 for strikes, and after four his pitch count stood at 57, 37 for strikes.

Matt Garza was visibly upset in the dugout following the fourth and appeared to be yelling at the home plate umpire.

Geovany Soto led off the fourth with a single to left center and the impatient Marlon Byrd worked a walk after being behind in the count 1-2. With runners on first and second with no outs, Darwin Barney struck out swinging on three pitches. Garza then failed to get a bunt down for the second time in as many at bats. Garza fouled a 1-2 pitch for the second out.

Reed Johnson stepped to the plate and looked at two out of the zone before punching the next pitch into the right field corner. Soto and Byrd scored and the Cubs took a 3-2 lead. Joe Mather followed with a single to left that fell just in front of Mark DeRosa. Mather’s first hit as a Cub drove in Johnson with the Cubs’ fourth run.

Starlin Castro singled to left on a 2-0 pitch and knocked Gio Gonzalez out of the game in his Nationals’ debut. Craig Stammen took over and retired Soriano on a grounder to third to end the inning.

Mark DeRosa struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) to start the fifth. Garza dodged a bullet back up the box off the bat of Roger Bernadina. Garza then missed on his first two pitches to Wilson Ramos. After a visit from Soto, Garza threw two straight strikes. Ramos ended up driving a 3-2 pitch into center for a single.

Davey Johnson left his reliever in to hit and Craig Stammen popped a 1-0 pitch up toward the mound. Garza stumbled as he tried to catch the popped up bunt. He recovered and got the out at first. With two down and runners on second and third, Ian Desmond lined a 1-1 pitch into left. Soriano made an ugly, but effective, leaping catch to retire Desmond for the third out.

The Cubs did nothing against Craig Stammen in the bottom of the fifth (three groundball outs).

Other than a two-out single off the bat of Adam LaRoche, Garza threw the ball well in the sixth. Garza struck out Zimmerman looking on a 2-2 pitch for the second out. Marlon Byrd tried to make a diving catch on the sinking liner off LaRoche’s bat in left center but came up short. Byrd kept the ball in front of him. Jayson Werth was called out when he tried to check his swing on a 0-2 pitch.

Darwin Barney led off the sixth with a single to center. Dale Sveum went to his bench and sent up Bryan LaHair to hit for Garza. LaHair popped up the first pitch to Zimmerman in foul ground for the first out.

Stammen plunked Reed Johnson on a 2-2 pitch to put runners on first and second with one out. Darwin Barney made a good read on a 1-1 pitch to Joe Mather. Barney broke for third when the ball hit the dirt. Barney slid in safe and Johnson advanced to second on the play.

With the infield in, Joe Mather swung at and missed a 2-2 pitch … and Castro grounded out to third to end the inning.

After six, the Cubs had a 4-2 lead.

Rafael Dolis sat down the Nationals in order in the seventh … two groundball outs and a fly out to left center on eight pitches, six for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing against Ryan Mattheus in the seventh.

Kerry Wood took over in the eighth … just the second time, counting Spring Training that Wood appeared in back-to-back games.

Wood retired Steve Lombardozzi on a grounder to short to begin the inning … then struck out Ian Desmond swinging. Wood looked good against the first two hitters …

Danny Espinosa put together an excellent at bat that resulted in an opposite field homer on the tenth pitch of the at bat (3-2) pitch. Wood simply could not put him away.

With the Cubs up 4-3, Ryan Zimmerman shattered his bat and blooped a single into right. Wood fell behind Adam LaRoche as Carlos Marmol started warming in the pen. LaRoche ripped the third pitch of the at bat into right. Zimmerman went to third with two down … and Sveum went to his pen.

Carlos Marmol missed badly on his first two offerings to Jayson Werth. Marmol’s third pitch was a strike but he issued a five-pitch walk to Werth to load the bases.

Chad Tracy did it again. Tracy hit for Ryan Mattheus and got just enough of a 2-2 pitch from Marmol to hit it past a diving Darwin Barney and into right field. Zimmerman and LaRoche scored … and just like that the Nationals took a 5-4 lead.

Marmol fell behind Roger Bernadina 2-1 before the Nationals’ centerfielder ripped a 3-1 pitch down the right field line. Werth scored and Tracy held at third with two down. Marmol then walked Wilson Ramos to load the bases.

Dale Sveum made the slow walk again and brought in Shawn Camp to face Steve Lombardozzi, the tenth batter to hit in the eighth.

Lombardozzi hit a weak grounder to short, Castro charged and made a strong throw to first but was a split second late. Lombardozzi reached on an infield single and Brett Carroll, who ran for Chad Tracy scored … 7-4 Nationals.

The ugly eighth came to an end when Ian Desmond flied out to right … the eleventh batter to hit in the top of the eighth.

After the demoralizing top of the eighth, Marlon Byrd (pop out to third, 1-2 pitch) and Darwin Barney (ground out to third, 0-2 pitch) went down quickly against Tyler Clippard. David DeJesus, who came in as a defensive replacement in the top of the inning, fell behind 1-2 in his first at bat of the game. DeJesus earned a walk and Reed Johnson stepped in with two down. Johnson put together a long at bat that ended with Johnson swinging and missing at a 3-2 offering (11th pitch of the at bat).

Shawn Camp stayed in and pitched the ninth. Camp allowed a two-out single to Adam LaRoche, but that was it … and the Cubs went to the bottom of the ninth trailing 7-4.

Henry Rodriguez started the ninth by walking Ian Stewart. Starlin Castro struck out swinging for the first out. On the first pitch to Blake DeWitt, Stewart took second but was stranded when DeWitt and Jeff Baker struck out to end the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Jeff Samardzija faces Jordan Zimmermann in the series finale on Sunday afternoon.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

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  • Itto

    This is something we should expect in a rebuilding year. Marmol and Wood have been awful the first 2 games of the year, there are no good options of relievers for the new manager.

    • Agutinrexach

      Have to agree here. KW is a Cub for life and he is and has been special but there is no place for aging veterans in a rebuilding team unless they are winning. I would stretch Kerry as a starter next week and that probably takes care of the issue.  As for Marmol, you have to eat him for a while and see if he gets better.

      • Baron_S

        Agustin, 

        I LOVE that idea….

        If we can get 12-14 healthy starts (70-80 innings) from Wood, he would have done his job for the year

        • Baron_S

          oh and sorry about your boy JuanMa..

          nice skills, but not a great chin :-)

      • Aaron

        I don’t know if you caught the interview this spring, but Kerry was asked about starting, and he said he’d love to, and that’s where he’s most comfortable, but he acknowledged at his age, he’s best suited for the pen, as he said if he started, he might go 80 pitches, and his arm would fall off

      • GaryLeeT

        FYI, Marmol does not have 1 single swing & miss strike in his first 2 appearances. You know, he was bad last year so it’s not much of a surprise he’s bad this year. What is plan B is for closer?

        • cubtex

          Wow! That tells you everthing right there!

        • Ripsnorter1

          You watch….Dolis will be the closer before July.

          • cubtex

            Or Maine. He is closing for Iowa.

          • Ripsnorter1

            I don’t know about him…..he walks too many, like Marmol does. 

          • Tony_Hall

            Call Wells up to take Dempster’s place in the rotation. Put Dempster back as the Closer and Dolis in the 8th.  

            You should love that idea.

          • Dorasaga

             Plausible, logical, fittable to the plan. Thoyer & Co. must be watching.

          • Mozob

             I agree about Dolis.

    • GaryLeeT

       Here is what I expect in a rebuilding year. Keep the hard to replace pieces, fill in with stop gap players, but not the bottom of the barrel. Draft and sign international players wisely to fill the farm system. I hated the Marshall trade the day it happened. To a division rival no less.

      • cubtex

        Couldn’t agree more!

  • Ripsnorter1

    I’ll give Sveum credit for making the Cubs aggressive on the basepaths. They have been very aggressive, and this has put pressure on the defense.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Henry Rodriguez was throwing between 96 and 101 MPH. 

  • Ripsnorter1

    Call up Manny Corpas. He’s no worse than Kerry Wood.

  • The Maven

    Wow! You go out and cut the grass with a two run lead, and THIS is what happens?

    • Ripsnorter1

      So you are the one we need to blame!
      LOL

      • The Maven

        We’re stealing Neil’s line today. Well played!

  • Ripsnorter1

    Dolis looked good.

  • Anthony

    35 year old Cuban E Bonne is kickin butt again so far in Daytona, just 0-2 so far with 2 yakker K’s this evening…………nothing like taking an opp away from a stud athlete never given a chance by Theo the Magnificent…………….Henchman………lol

    You go boy!

  • cubtex

    I am going to beat this dead horse so some of you casual baseball fans can understand what I was talking about with Sveum and not putting Russell in against LaRoche. Game is 4-2 2 outs in the 8th. Espo goes yard and cuts the game to 4-3. Nobody is warming up. Sveum at that point of the game should have called the bullpen to get Russell up immediately with another righty. He could have had Camp or Marmol. He tells Bosio to go out and talk to Wood and take some time for both pitchers to warm up. Instead no pitchers are warming up. Marmol is probably mentally preparing to start the 9th. At this point, Zimmerman is the tying run and LaRoche the lead run. Sveum’s thought process should have been…..IF Zimmerman gets on base anywhere…..I am going to Russell to face LaRoche. You might ask….what if Zimmerman doubles. You can walk LaRoche and face Werth. No……the “book” says that you never put the lead run on base. So…..instead after Zimmerman gets a base hit on the first pitch, Sveum gets Marmol up who was mentally preparing to get in the game to start the 9th. Marmol gets up, LaRoche…..base hit off Wood.Sveum brings in Marmol who(imo) wasn’t mentally or physically ready to come in….Walks Werth. You have ONE lefty in the bullpen! Use him!

    • cubs1967

      exactly!
      the gunfighter has 1 bullet………suggest he fire it off; instead it’s still sitting in the pen.
      dale quade is not supposed to be the real quade or uncle lou or dusty; in fact this whole new regime is supposed to be the analytical genius’ in suits……….so should we as cubs fans not expect dale quade to think ahead about what if laroche comes to bat………
      i assume dale quade knows wood pitched 5 IP in ST; way too little; he walked 3 straight the day before and that sore arm laroche’s kid is left handed………..

      this game rests on wood-marmo-lsveum & theo cuz we don’t have marshall or cashner ………especially marshall.

      i would suggest the marketing campaign stop with: baseball is better…………before I sue for false advertising.

      • GaryLeeT

         If the Marshall trade had not happened the Cubs would be 2-0. Speaking of Sean, let’s see how his first save went. What? A perfect 9th with 2 strikeouts?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        I am now asking, please stop with the nicknames.

    • Tony_Hall

      The horse is dead, again, but I applaud you for restating your points again on the new thread. 

      • cubtex

        Maybe if I keep pointing out the obvious you will finally get it :)

        • Tony_Hall

          Agree to disagree, what part don’t you get.

      • cubtex

        As I said before….I like Sveum. I want him to do well……but LaRoche was 3 for 4 in the game. This was an obvious move to bring in Russell.

        • Tony_Hall

          Not at real speed, and how fast (2 pitches) it all happened.  Plus as I have said before, and you are making me repeat, I believe he made the decision to leave Wood in, while you say he was unprepared.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Sveum is proving that he isn’t ready to handle a bullpen, and thus, manage a ML team. He should have pulled Wood in game one after Wood walked two in a row and threw the wild pitch. 

      There was a reason Milwaukee did not hire him after his 12 game experience. Maybe this is what they could see….

      Steve Stone was speaking of Sveum a few days before the season began and quite frankly predicted that Sveum would make many mistakes because of his inexperience. 

      The Cubs quite easily could have been 2-0 instead of 0-2.
      The saying goes that a manager is only good for 5 wins per year. I figured that QQuade cost the Cubs 15 wins last year. I have to say that I figure Sveum has cost us 2 games already this year.

      • Tony_Hall

        I am amazed that a baseball analyst, would predict that a first time MLB manager (basically) would make mistakes.  Of course he will, just as Tony “the Great” Larussa did in the World Series.

        Every manager makes mistakes, and they all seem to stand out more, when a team loses.

      • Tony_Hall

        I kind of figure that Woody and his counterpart Marmol have cost the Cubs 2 wins.  If either is able to get major league batters out, we could be talking about a 2-0 team.

  • cubtex

    Can’t resist pointing this out. Cubs 0-2. Red Sox 0-2. Theo present and Theo past

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      So Hendry gets no credit for the Cubs being 0-2 and Theo gets credit for the Red Sox being 0-2.

      • cubtex

        Theo left the Red Sox handcuffed with all those bad contracts. They have a 170 mil a year payroll. The Cubs are rebuilding the A’s and Pirates way. He is acting like this is a small market. Is it Theo or Ricketts? You tell me. I just know Theo has done an awful job constructing this 2012 team.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          The same can be said about Hendry and the previous regime. No one in baseball was offering Byrd a third year. Hendry gave it to him. No one in baseball was offering Milton Bradley more than two years, Hendry went three and the last of that mistake is being paid off to Carlos Silva this year.

          No one in baseball was offering Soriano more than six years, the Cubs signed him to eight. While the argument will be Hendry did not sign Soriano to that contract, the higher ups did, there are also rumors that Larry Lucchino wanted John Lackey and Carl Crawford signed and not Epstein.

          The Cubs are paying out more than $20 million  this season to players that are no longer on the roster. While the focus is on the Cubs’ $90 million payroll to the players on the roster, the more than $20 million cannot and should not be ignored.

          We can go back and forth all night. Mistakes were made at the big league level on both Hendry and Epstein’s watch. But if you are going to pin 0-2 starts on two different organizations on one person then you should also look at the previous regime for the Cubs and give them credit as well.

          • cubtex

            Both have made plenty of mistakes. How about still paying Dice K? How is John Lackey working? Lackey had a brutal career ERA at Fenway but Theo still signed him. JD Drew. Julio Lugo. The list goes on. Was signing DeJesus to 2 years this offseason necessary?I will argue that Theo has made as many bad moves as JH.The difference is that Theo could spend more and correct his mistakes with Boston.

          • brent carmona

            Dice k was a pretty good pitcher before his injury happened fyi, I think that was not a bad signing by theo in my opinion.

          • cubtex

            How about these 3 for payroll 2012?

            Bobby Jenks  6mil(how did that signing work out)
            Dice K- 10 mil
            John Lakey- 15 mil

            30 mil on those 3 alone who won’t play 1 inning. Wow!

            I agree both should be held accountable but Theo would not have been re-hired in Boston. He has handcuffed that team moving forward.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Let’s move on. Happy Easter.

          • cubtex

            Happy Easter Neil! My Easter is next week! Greek Easter! Thanks for all you do on this site!

  • Tom U

    Good outing for Hayden Simpson: 4.1 innings, 1 ER (HR), 2 K’s. Daytona behind 0-1 to Brevard County, bottom of seven.

    • cubtex

      Some good news! Keep those minor league reports coming! That is all we have to look forward to this year!

  • Anthony

    Message for the nerd intern ladies that Theo hires.

    Schmuuk
    Putz

    tell him he is a tool

    • John_CC

       Say Whaaaaa?????

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Brett Jackson walked, advanced to second on a passed ball. Moved to third on a bunt single by Ty Wright (I-Cubs’ first hit of the game) and scored on a single by Anthony Rizzo …

  • Ripsnorter1

    On the plus side….

    We got a quality start from Dempster…10 k’s and 3 BBs.

    We got a quality start from Garza….6 IP and only 2 ER….

    The Cubs were aggressive on the basepaths, which put pressure on Gonzalez and the defense. 

    The Cubs have committed only 1 error this year and have played sound defense.

    Castro is hitting the ball well.

    Mather played a good game today, as did Johnson. 

    We have played just 2 games, with 160 to go. Things can get fixed in that amount of time.

    The league is hitting only .125 about our entire staff. Remove Wood and Marmol, and that figure drops even more.

    Tomorrow will be better.

    • GaryLeeT

       The only issue I have with what you said is that Mather put together a horrible AB with a runner at 3rd and less than 2 outs.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Okay.

  • cc002600

    I have to tell you, I was at the at the game today and I was thoroughly bored. Not that it was  bad game, but you just look at that lineup that they trotted out there today, and quite frankly its embarassing. Baker at 1B, Reed Johnson in RF….your cleanup man is Soriano. Joe Mather at 3B. Byrd in CF. Holy crap, is that pathetic.

    I’m all for developing players but until guys like Jackson and Rizzo get here this is going to be REALLY hard to watch. Really hard.

    The only thing about this team that I think is fairly decent is the rotation. The bullpen and lineup are sooooooooo bad.
    .

    • cubtex

      Hopefully people stay away this year. I have a feeling attendance will be way down.

      • cc002600

        I think so too.
        as usual the tickets will be sold, but there will many empty seats this year. The scalpers are gonna take another huge bath year.

  • Zonk

    Does anyone have solid Pitch FX or other data around Marmol’s stuff?  Because something seems clearly wrong, and I wonder how much solid scouting and data there is to back that up.

    He has always walked batters and struggled with command, so that’s not news.  But his stuff was SO filthy, he overcame that.  Good fastball, but especially the nastiest slider in baseball, and one of the best I have ever seen.  In 2008-2010, hitters swung and missed at it constantly.

    Now, he’s down 3 mph or so on the fastball, but more alarmingly, that slider to the naked eye looks more slurvy than sharp. 

    Do the experts and stat geeks see the same thing?

    If so, that is very worrisome, because if he can’t get the feel on that pitch back, that’s $15 mil down the tubes

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Here is a link to Harry Pavlidis’ awesome work. I hope this is what you are looking for …

      http://brooksbaseball.net/player_cards/player_card.php?player=461791

      • Zonk

        Thanks, I’m not an expert reading those graphs but it looks like to me:

        –Velocity of FB is down
        –Velocity of Slider is UP in 2011
        –Movement of Slider is down in 2011

        The speed of his two main pitches is converging, which is not good

        Maybe someone with more experience can take a look, but it looks a bit ominous. 

        • Ripsnorter1

          Let’s compare Marmol of July, 2008 and April, 2012…

          Fastball MPH….94.74 vs 93.29…down 1.5 MPH

          Slider MPH….82.51 vs 82.56…. same

          It isn’t the speed variation as much as it it the horizontal movement:2008 slider….9.01 
          2012 slider…6.59

          He has lost the sharp horizontal break on his slider. His fastball has lost some break, too, but not nearly so severe as his slider has degraded (9.80 vs 8.73). Maybe Larry Rothschild could fix it, but he’s a Yank now. Or maybe Pinella and Quade just overworked him. He’s pitched more games as a reliever than any pitcher in MLB over the last 4 years, by about 15 games.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Looking further at Marmol….

          Today…23 pitches, only 10 strikes…

          His arm slot is somewhat higher in 2012 than at any time in 2008, 2009, 2010, or 2011. That is, on some of his pitches, he is using a higher arm slot than at any time since2007. 

  • Zonk

    RE:  Sveum not inserting James Russell

    2011
    OPS of Opposing LH hitters

    James Russell:   .685
    Kerry Wood:  .649

    Kerry was lower in 2010 too

    • cubtex

      Not a valid stat Zonk. Look at LaRoche’s average against lhp and rhp. You want a lefty facing him.

      • Tony_Hall

        Of course his On base plus Slugging wouldn’t be a valid stat if it goes against your thought, but just AVG would be.

        • cubtex

          So why ever use Russell? Just put Woody in against every lefty. Lol. You just have to argue to argue! We don’t need any leftys in the pen.

          • Tony_Hall

            I’m just arguing to argue.  Dude, I said drop this on the last thread, you keep going and brought up on this one.

            Actually on the last thread someone did comment how you are just arguing to argue…And, since your point is having some holes in it, you then take it to why ever use Russell?    In hindsight, Sveum played it wrong, because they lost.  Since no one can prove or disprove another scenario, you must be right.Move on already.  I’m done with it.

          • cubtex

            What holes? Kerry Wood having a better OPS than Russell? That is a hole? That just means that Russell is not a stud lefty. He is still a lefty and you use him in situations like that. I am done with this!

    • cubtex

      There is a reason LaRoche is being platooned at 1st with DeRosa when Morse comes back and plays left.

  • http://twitter.com/Golfnut70Bob OttawaBob

    Neil, I see Cespedes hit a 462 ft.tape measure shot today,  Heard anything futher on Soler? Oakland thinks they got this years  ROY.  If Soler is better, then dear God lets get him.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Soler has not established residency in the Dominican yet … and I have not heard or read an updated estimate on when that could happen.

  • Aaron

    I guess the problem I have with this team is they still have no sense of direction, it seems.

    Are they going young?

    Are they sticking with veterans?

    Is it going to be a mix? If so, then how is that any different than what they’ve always done?…(actually, more so sticking with veterans, but on occasion they’ve half-heartedly tried infusing youth at a couple positions, but never large scale)

    I’ve had the opportunity to see a lot of the games recently because of the holiday weekend, and I can tell you that youth DOES WORK. Teams that have a majority of young talent actually seem to play very well when their teams get behind.

    NOTHING has changed this year, except for the starting pitching has been better. 

    The lineup just hacks away, and when they get down, they lay down…PRECISELY how Sveum said he observed from the other dugout last year. 

    I call it like I see it….Teams like this tend to be habitual underperforming teams (or perhaps to some…like me, they perform exactly how we anticipate), and they don’t turn it around unless major moves are made. In this case, I don’t see any moves on the horizon, and I don’t know how Epstein and Hoyer can sleep with the garbage they put on the field for Sveum….I feel really bad for the guy, because I think he’s got what the Cubs need in a manager…but they have no identity (as I mentioned at the beginning of the post), and he’s been stuck with guys like Soriano, Byrd, Baker, Johnson, DeWitt, Camp, Marmol, Rodrigo Lopez…..

    How the hell do you win with a team like that?!? They’re unfortunately setting their new manager up to fail. 

    By the way, has everyone seen how Sappelt, Torreyes, and Weathers have done? 

    I followed the Tennessee game, and watched as Weathers threw 40 pitches with just 23 strikes in 1 1/3 IP. He allowed 3 inherited runs to score, plus he gave up a run of his own, along with 3 hits and 3 walks…WOW

    Anyway, I’ll give these guys the benefit of the doubt. They inherited a piss poor roster of Hendry’s doing, and several big contracts. They wisely opted to trade Zambrano and let ARAM and Pena walk, so they obviously have better judgement than Hendry….but my patience is wearing thin with the way they COULD have constructed the roster. A lot of the criticism they are receiving right now is justified, and I don’t believe it has anything to do with the first two games of this season. It has EVERYTHING to do with what we all saw, and they didn’t….we saw guys that clearly did not fit what they wished to accomplish, which is to have multiple guys in the lineup that could work counts, etc., and they re-signed Baker, Johnson, and DeWitt…3 free-swinging guys that almost never see more than 3 pitches in an AB…and they didn’t trade Byrd either….

    I hope they get this right, because it sure as hell would be more interesting watching W. Castillo, Rizzo, B. Jackson, than what we have now.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Sappelt: 2 for 12, .167 BA, 1 2B, 2 SO….it’s only 12 AB

      Rizzo: 5 for 12, all singles, .417 BA
      Torreyes:2 for 11, both singles, .182It’s only a handful of ABs. Not to panic…. 

    • Tony_Hall

      I believe it was Theo who said in the last week, how as many as 50 players will come through that door this year.  I have a pretty good idea that this team will have a different looking roster as the year goes on.  

      Jackson and Rizzo are going to force them to bring them up sooner, rather than later, and I, and it sounds like many more on here, hope they bring some more friends from Iowa.  I see a front office that is looking at individual player development of their top prospects over the major league team.  Long term, that is a good thing. Short term, they will let the guys sort out who is worth keeping when they need roster spots.  

      We will see a few trades this year, and I bet earlier than normal…that is if they can pull off a miracle and get teams to give us anything in return for some of these guys.

  • Ripsnorter1

    In other news….

    The Padres are 0-3 with a team BA of .126…..
    Cashner has pitched well in 2 IP…0 ER….0 H….2K…

    Moyer lost his start…5 IP….3 ER on 2 HR….Astros tore him up.

    Marwin Gonzalez got his first ML hit: a double…

    Colvin, PH today, 1 for 1 on the year…..

    Aram got his first Brewer hit, a double, and has 2 RBI on the year….

    Funko hasn’t even gotten in a game yet.

  • Anthony

    Bradley pitches gem, wins pro debut……………

    Whether it was the quality of the umpiring or the quality of his own pitching, Bradley shined in his pro debut, allowing three hits and striking out seven over 6 1/3 innings in the Brevard County Manatees’ 1-0 blanking of the Daytona Cubs

    But Bradley knows that at the Class A Advanced level, he’ll have to rely on more than quality defense and consistent strike zones to repeat the kind of success he enjoyed Saturday. “In the Florida State League, there are a lot of good players here,” he said. “I played in a good conference in school. But here, you take all the best players from all the best conferences, and that’s what I’m going up against. These are definitely the best players I’ve ever faced.” 2/19/11 against Bradley. Mr. Early release 2 for 3, rbi, no K’s

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Tamara-Petty/100000776295511 Steven Tamara Petty

    two words for ya!!!   SEAN MARSHALL

  • frustrated

      up how long will the FO put up the dung pile of a bullpen?