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April 2012

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COMMENTS

Game 2 Recap: Another Heartbreaker…..Love Always, The Bullpen.

Written by , Posted in General

Nationals 7 @ Cubs 4

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

For the second straight day, the Cubs blew a game they most certainly should have won. Both were lost in almost identical fashion. It was hard to stomach the opening day loss because of all the emotion coupled with the fact that we had an off day in between. Now we’re stuck with another rough one.

Roster Move – Before the game, the Cubs made the move to outright Luis Valbuena to make room for a 12th pitcher on the staff, which turned into Rodrigo Lopez. If you’ve followed the blog for any period of time or have had a conversation with me on my philosophy on how I make up my roster, you know that I absolutely despise the 12 man staff. It’s a complete waste of roster flexibility and causes members of the pen to get rusty from lack of use. There is no reason why you can’t get through a season using six men out of the bullpen. If you run into the issue of a game that sees the team go deep into extra innings or a terrible outing by one of the starting pitchers and you have a pen full of tired arms, you shuttle someone up from AAA. By carrying the 11 man staff, it gives you the ability to use that 14th position player in so many different ways. I tend to structure my bench to include a backup catcher, a backup corner and middle infielder, and backup corner and middle outfielder. That sixth guy that you get as a result of carrying the 11 man staff can has so much potential. You can carry a guy strictly for his speed like Tony Campana to use as a pinch runner and really put the pressure on the pitching staff. You could carry a third catcher, which would allow you to pinch hit for your catcher if the situation calls without worrying that you’ve got an issue should your backup get hurt. So many options, but those are taken away with the 12 man staff.

Bullpen Woes – When Dale brought in Rafael Dolis to pitch the 7th, I was excited that we were going to see him and then James Russell, as he was warming up. Instead we saw Dolis and an implosion. Svuem went to the pen with Kerry Wood again in the 8th. He got to the two out mark and saw the wheels fall off again. Exact same situation only today we pulled him before the damage could be done. The problem was that we brought in Carlos Marmol, who also can’t get an out. Why Marmol is still listed as the closer on this team is beyond me. The only reason I can see is for lack of another option. At this point, I’m done with him as my closer. It’s not a good role for him.

Offensive Approach – I was more encouraged by what I saw at the plate today by the offense as a whole. It seemed like they were more apt to work the count and make the pitcher work, which showed up in the box score as we averaged almost five pitches per plate appearance. It showed by the fact that they ousted Gio Gonzalez from the game before he completed four. Usually that serves to allow for more offensive output. When you can get to the pen that early you see guys that really aren’t as talented as the guys in the back end of the pen. Unfortunately those guys shut the door once they took over for Gonzalez. Overall, it was enough offensive output that was put up and the game should have been registered in the win column.

Head Scratcher of the Day – Yesterday it was the situational running by both Alfonso Soriano and Joe Mather. Today, I have to scratch my head by the at bats by Matt Garza. Both of his at bats resulted in a strikeout and both of the strikeouts came as a result of him bunting with two strikes. Either he doesn’t know the rule, which is entirely possible after how he looked after the ump called him out after the first one, or he thinks he’s a better bunter than he is. Bunting with two strikes is very tough to do. It’s even harder to do if you suck at bunting to begin with. I left both of those at bats scratching my head and asking why?

Positive Thought of the Day – A couple of positives. First, we saw a nice outing by Garza. We saw offensive production from the bench, with Reed Johnson and Joe Mather both contributing. Other than that, not much. Hopefully Jeff Samardzija can control the nerves tomorrow and salvage a game out of the series because it would suck to get swept in the first series of the season.

Post Game Thoughts from Dale

  • flyslinger2

    Garza’s at bats frustrated my first time watching the Cubs on T.V. today. If you can’t bunt you shouldn’t be on the mound.

    The Bull Pen is horrendous. They all should be flogged. Another win that was lost.

    • Joe Aiello

      Come on Fly. I trust you’re joking when you say that if a pitcher can’t bunt, he shouldn’t be pitching. I’d rather have a good pitcher who can’t hit than a mediocre one who can hit .200

      • flyslinger2

         A little bit of a joke, but not much.  Case in point Gary Maddux.  He worked hard at being able to bunt to help himself. It takes to things: 1. willingness and 2. a batting cage.  Willingness speaks volumes to team contribution.

    • I think that should read “Wood and Marmol are horrendous.” Dolis and Camp were alright, and we haven’t seen Castillo, Lopez, or Russell at all this season

      • flyslinger2

         True.  I was being a tad cynical two games in.  Maybe I should give them the first 10 games or so before I get hyper-critical.

  • flyslinger2

    Garza’s at bats frustrated my first time watching the Cubs on T.V. today. If you can’t bunt you shouldn’t be on the mound.

    The Bull Pen is horrendous. They all should be flogged. Another win that was lost.

    • Joe Aiello

      Come on Fly. I trust you’re joking when you say that if a pitcher can’t bunt, he shouldn’t be pitching. I’d rather have a good pitcher who can’t hit than a mediocre one who can hit .200

      • flyslinger2

         A little bit of a joke, but not much.  Case in point Gary Maddux.  He worked hard at being able to bunt to help himself. It takes to things: 1. willingness and 2. a batting cage.  Willingness speaks volumes to team contribution.

    • Deezer Irons

      I think that should read “Wood and Marmol are horrendous.” Dolis and Camp were alright, and we haven’t seen Castillo, Lopez, or Russell at all this season

      • flyslinger2

         True.  I was being a tad cynical two games in.  Maybe I should give them the first 10 games or so before I get hyper-critical.

  • BLPCB

    If Marmol can put together 3 good outings, I think McJedEp should unload him faster than he can uncork a wild pitch.

    • Joe Aiello

      CAPS, you do know that teams have scouts and that other GM’s aren’t stupid, right? You can’t just say to someone that he’s turned it around and expect him to bite. It takes a long time to build back trade value.

      • BLPCB

        Wishful thinking. I really hope Marmol has a good stretch to build that value back though

  • AC0000000

    If Marmol can put together 3 good outings, I think McJedEp should unload him faster than he can uncork a wild pitch.

    • Joe Aiello

      CAPS, you do know that teams have scouts and that other GM’s aren’t stupid, right? You can’t just say to someone that he’s turned it around and expect him to bite. It takes a long time to build back trade value.

      • AC0000000

        Wishful thinking. I really hope Marmol has a good stretch to build that value back though

  • Doug Bagley

    Can’t really say I blame Dale for going woody/marmol.  Those guys are the core of the ‘pen as long as they’re on the team. I’m all for the other guys getting their shots too but Marmol will only be of any value if he proves he can close again.  Benching him is a waste.  Plus, had it worked out we all would be saying how smart is was to go to them today and erase the memory of yesterday.  Regardless, there’s another game tomorrow. Time for that first W.

    • Joe Aiello

      Doug, you’re exactly right. I thought this exact thought when Wood came in. If he had been great, all would have been chalked up to rust for game one. Because he bombed after the first two hitters, his head is on the block. When I criticize Marmol’s use as the closer it’s simply because of a lack of control. He’s never taken to the role.

    • Joe Aiello

      Doug, you’re exactly right. I thought this exact thought when Wood came in. If he had been great, all would have been chalked up to rust for game one. Because he bombed after the first two hitters, his head is on the block. When I criticize Marmol’s use as the closer it’s simply because of a lack of control. He’s never taken to the role.

  • Doug Bagley

    @lizzie @joe Are we doing contests this year? I enjoyed Lizzie’s hit streak contest 2 years ago i think and the 5 questions last year from Joe   – just wondering. thanks

    • Joe Aiello

      It’s not looking like it. I decided to take more time and devote it to content instead of contests.

  • Doug Bagley

    @lizzie @joe Are we doing contests this year? I enjoyed Lizzie’s hit streak contest 2 years ago i think and the 5 questions last year from Joe   – just wondering. thanks

    • Joe Aiello

      It’s not looking like it. I decided to take more time and devote it to content instead of contests.

  • cap’n obvious

    again…with Wood only having 5 IP in the spring to ‘save his arm’…maybe ease him into it.  Now I’m hoping he goes Mike Schmidt and just shuts it down while I still rememmber that he was once a solid major league pitcher.  He gets a longer leash with me because he’s Kerry Wood, but even cap’n obvious will grow tired of this garbage in May.  The guy is missing locations badly.  On the Garza blown bunts….I actually don’t hate him bunting and striking out on foul balls, as that is better (marginally for you numbers guys) than the double play ball that is the next most likely outcome.  Agree with Joe…the 12th pitcher almost always results in wasted offensive opportunities, and if the situation ever gets dire in a blowout loss, it doesn’t hurt anything to have Mather or Reed J throw an inning of relief with the Cubs down by 11 in the 8th.  They were the best pitchers in their respective little leagues (99% of big leaguers were)…let them serve a few up to some solid competition at garbage time.  That’s not going to change the end result of this 100 game losing season. 

    Am I the only one who looks at Svuem in the postgame interview and sees a guy that has bitten off 40 lbs more than he can chew?  To me he looks like that cow right before they lower it into the Velociraptor cage in “Jurassic Park.”  He knows he’s dead meat before he gets lowered into the cage, but he keeps on mooing anyway.

    • Joe Aiello

      Wow, really after two games? We’re already thinking we know how Svuem is going to do?

  • cap’n obvious

    again…with Wood only having 5 IP in the spring to ‘save his arm’…maybe ease him into it.  Now I’m hoping he goes Mike Schmidt and just shuts it down while I still rememmber that he was once a solid major league pitcher.  He gets a longer leash with me because he’s Kerry Wood, but even cap’n obvious will grow tired of this garbage in May.  The guy is missing locations badly.  On the Garza blown bunts….I actually don’t hate him bunting and striking out on foul balls, as that is better (marginally for you numbers guys) than the double play ball that is the next most likely outcome.  Agree with Joe…the 12th pitcher almost always results in wasted offensive opportunities, and if the situation ever gets dire in a blowout loss, it doesn’t hurt anything to have Mather or Reed J throw an inning of relief with the Cubs down by 11 in the 8th.  They were the best pitchers in their respective little leagues (99% of big leaguers were)…let them serve a few up to some solid competition at garbage time.  That’s not going to change the end result of this 100 game losing season. 

    Am I the only one who looks at Svuem in the postgame interview and sees a guy that has bitten off 40 lbs more than he can chew?  To me he looks like that cow right before they lower it into the Velociraptor cage in “Jurassic Park.”  He knows he’s dead meat before he gets lowered into the cage, but he keeps on mooing anyway.

  • Eddie Von White

    Another Sveum and a miss. 

  • Eddie Von White

    Another Sveum and a miss. 

  • Doug S.

    Dale says “you know” way too often.
    Yes we do know.
    I hope he does.

  • RichBeckman

    At this point, pitcher is not a good role for Marmol (or Wood for that matter).

    Thursday the entire team was still in the 2011 season.  Saturday it seemed only Wood and Marmol were still in 2011.

    It was a great game until that got to that pesky 24th out.

  • RichBeckman

    At this point, pitcher is not a good role for Marmol (or Wood for that matter).

    Thursday the entire team was still in the 2011 season.  Saturday it seemed only Wood and Marmol were still in 2011.

    It was a great game until that got to that pesky 24th out.

  • Doug S.

    Be honest.
    When you saw the Cubs schedule and first series against Washington at Wrigley…….were you thinking we’d caught a break and would start the season on a positive note?

  • Doug S.

    Be honest.
    When you saw the Cubs schedule and first series against Washington at Wrigley…….were you thinking we’d caught a break and would start the season on a positive note?

  • Gymjok

    Head Scratcher of the Day-
    I disagree with Mather being bad situational running- whether you’re blaming Mather or Dale.
    A third possible reason for Garza doing the 2 strike bunt attempts(and most likely) is it was called by Dale.

    • Joe Aiello

      I have no doubt it was called by the coaching staff. I just don’t like the call.

      • Gymjok

        Which call do you mean?
        The bunts with Garza or the contact play with Mather. 

      • Joe Aiello

        Garza

      • Joe Aiello

        Garza

  • Gymjok

    Head Scratcher of the Day-
    I disagree with Mather being bad situational running- whether you’re blaming Mather or Dale.
    A third possible reason for Garza doing the 2 strike bunt attempts(and most likely) is it was called by Dale.

    • Joe Aiello

      I have no doubt it was called by the coaching staff. I just don’t like the call.

  • Mike

     100 is sadly the number I’m looking at this year.  100 losses, and under 100 homers.  This is probably the least talented group the Cubs have assembled in the past 30 years.

  • Mike

     100 is sadly the number I’m looking at this year.  100 losses, and under 100 homers.  This is probably the least talented group the Cubs have assembled in the past 30 years.

  • Seymour Butts

    When does the NFL start?

  • Seymour Butts

    When does the NFL start?

  • I’m not all that certain the offense was that much better. They really only had one spurt. Even a blind dog finds a bone now and then.

    • Doc Raker

      If Wood and Marmol are this bad what is Randy Wells doing in Iowa. We have an obvious void in the pen with the loss of Marshall and Smarja- we are 2 -0 if we had them in the pen. We need to give everyone a chance to pitch out of the pen. Wood and Marmol should not be assumed to be set up man and closer any longer, not because they blew 2 games but because they blew them in such ugly rookie have no command of the strike zone fashion.

  • I’m not all that certain the offense was that much better. They really only had one spurt. Even a blind dog finds a bone now and then.

    • Doc Raker

      If Wood and Marmol are this bad what is Randy Wells doing in Iowa. We have an obvious void in the pen with the loss of Marshall and Smarja- we are 2 -0 if we had them in the pen. We need to give everyone a chance to pitch out of the pen. Wood and Marmol should not be assumed to be set up man and closer any longer, not because they blew 2 games but because they blew them in such ugly rookie have no command of the strike zone fashion.

  • Gymjok

    We can do our own contest if we want.
    Everybody want to pick Cubs win/ loss record this year?
    I’ll start it off.
    82-80

    • Buddy

      I’ll say 78-84 for this year’s squad. Then over .500 next year. 

      • BLPCB

        I’ll predict them 6 games better than SI. 72-90

  • Gymjok

    We can do our own contest if we want.
    Everybody want to pick Cubs win/ loss record this year?
    I’ll start it off.
    82-80

    • Buddy

      I’ll say 78-84 for this year’s squad. Then over .500 next year. 

      • AC0000000

        I’ll predict them 6 games better than SI. 72-90