View From The Bleachers

April 29, 2012

Game 22: Garza’s Gem Almost Gets Tossed in the Trash

Filed under: Featured,General — Joe Aiello @ 4:53 pm

Cubs 5 @ Phillies 1

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

Coming into the game, Matt Garza had put up the best performance as a starting pitcher according to the game score stat with an 85 pitched on April 12th. Today was just as good, with a final game score of 84. He now owns the only two outings with a score over 80 this season for Cubs starters. Only Ryan Dempster (1 time) and Jeff Samardzija (2 times) have tossed an outing over 70. He had everything working today and made quick work of a Phillies lineup that looks drastically different this year without Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. I don’t think you can really ask much more from your starters. Give us seven strong innings on a consistent basis and we’ll win a lot of games. It allows the bullpen to be fresh day in and day out. Nice job by Garza.

Offensively, Joe Mather hit a homerun. It was the first homerun hit by a Cubs outfielder this season and just the 8th home run overall for the team. This is not a team that will hit many home runs. We talked about it this spring when we looked at the guy most likely to hit 30 home runs. I chose Bryan LaHair, but I wasn’t even confident he’d do it. It’s simply not a team that is going to beat you with the long ball, which means it’s even more imperative to go for curvy numbers when you can instead of playing for one run.

Tony Campana hit leadoff today and the more I see him, the more I like his bat in the lineup. He just makes thing happen with his speed. He forced a bad throw by Kyle Kendrick on a pickoff attempt and advanced to 2nd as a result. He tagged up from third on a shallow fly ball from Starlin Castro and scored despite a really nice throw from Hunter Pence, and he stole a base later in the game. Len and Bob talked about it during the game. The key to Campana’s success will be his ability to get on base. If he can do that, his speed can be a huge asset. I remember seeing him play in AA against the Mudcats and everyone in the pressbox was amazed by just how fast he got down the line each time up. I’d like to see Dale keep him in the leadoff spot to utilize his speed. I think him hitting ahead of David DeJesus would help DeJesus’s game a little more. He has more gap power than Campana and so you’d figure he could be a better run producer as a result of having someone like Campana ahead of him in the order.

Carlos Marmol came in to make the game eventful in the 9th and you have to wonder when the Cubs will look to move him. I just don’t see how you can count on him in any type of high leverage situation because of his volatility and yet of all the pitchers on the staff, Marmol averages the highest leverage index of any reliever entering the game for the Cubs. Why use the guy that has been least effective in the situations that are the most critical? Death to the save stat. Death to the closer.

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids and helps people protect their assets as an independent insurance agent. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail

  • Buddy

    Trading Marmol when he’s pitching like crap seems unlikely. However, if he gets on a roll later in the year, perhaps a contending team might roll the dice. 

  • Doug Bagley

    I def. did NOT see 2 wins coming out of this series but I’ll take it!


    I agree with you. I think we can get a better return at the deadline if he can turn it around by then. I still think he can do it.

  • RichBeckman

    It seems clear to me that if Campana is hitting good enough to play (.421/.450/.421), then he should be leading off.  Having him bat second was head scratching to say the least.

    Yes, the .533 BABIP may not be sustainable, but would not one expect a higher BABIP with his speed?

  • Smitty

    Campana is what I love about baseball..small ball. I know some of you here don’t like small ball, but that is one of the reasons I enjoy baseball to the degree that I do. It’s why I hate the AL. Any team that focuses so much on home runs and doesn’t utilize the basic fundamentals of baseball is doomed. Usually every team that has home run hitters has 1 or 2, 3 if they’re lucky. But about the time those guys have a dry spell, thats when the other 7 or 8 guys need to chip in. right now, we seem to have quite a bit of chipping in from most guys. I’ll take it. And on the subject of marmol, take him out back and put him out of my misery.

  • Lizzie

    I completely agree, Smitty, about the small ball. I think it’s generational.

  • Eddie Von White

    I’ll say it again, I like Campana.
    Joe – I felt a sudden eruption of optimism when I read your line: “Give us seven strong innings on a consistent basis and we’ll win a lot of games.”  Suddenly that seems achievable. 

  • Doug S.

    Carlos Marmol is slowly sucking the life out of me.

  • flyslinger2

    This was a weekend without baseball for me. So no one cross my path or I’m liable to club you with a bat. I had only minute glimpses of final scores and VFTB comments to keep me up to date. Sure likes the sound of the new bats in the lineup. Multiple run innings are a good thing. Marmol needs to find a new line of work.

  • Doc Raker

    Have we lost when the nefarious Tony Campana is in the line up?
    * I like having Mather in left field instead of Soriano.
    * Bryan LaHair has some gaudy numbers now with a .383 avg and slugging over .700. Who had him as a 4A hitter? The same folks that liked the Carlos Pena signing?

  • Katie

    I’d rather have a sack of potatoes in left field than Soriano. 

  • Katie

    During my 4-week student teaching stint in April, we had 30 minutes of silent reading every day. Naturally, I chose books about baseball. The best two were ones about Shoeless Joe Jackson and Honus Wagner; small-ball guys. Great stories. Too bad baseball isn’t played like that anymore.

  • jswanson

    Big Z sucks…crap

    Rami sucks…crap

    Sori sucks…bingo

  • Seymour Butts

    So what were you reading?
    I like the speed game as well, but Wagner had a career OPS of .858, and Jackson .940. Numbers that imply power. They did both play in an era (not to be confused with ERA, or even the ERA) where home runs were relatively rare.
    Why do you consider them “small-ball” guys?

  • Seymour Butts

    Perhaps if Carlos hadn’t had is pitching motion designed by Rube Goldberg it might cross the plate more often.

  • Seymour Butts

    His… not is.  Must be the cockney ancestry.

  • jswanson

    Small balls?

  • Dusty Baylor

     Joe Jackson hit 54 career HR’s, but averaged 37 doubles and 20 triples a season.  In the “Dead Ball” Era it was a speed more than power game.  You can still have a very good OPS if you hit a f***load of doubles and triples.   Doesn’t small ball refer to that type of game?  Wagner and Jackson also stole a f***load of bases, which again refers to small ball.

  • Seymour Butts

    I’ll set them up, you knock them down.

  • Katie

     Nailed it, Dusty.

  • Katie

    Dusty said just about everything I was going to say (minus the boatload of asterisks). The books were actually two children’s books by Dan Gutman: Honus and Me and Shoeless Joe and Me. They’re probably right up your alley.

  • Seymour Butts

    Thanks Katie. I hope everyone who reads this thread laughs like I did when I read your last sentence. Being perpetually 13 has it’s benefits.

  • jswanson

    Another good read is ‘Cupless Joe and Me: The Small-Ball Era.’  

  • Katie

    I thought you might enjoy that one! If I find any other good ones, you’ll be the first to know.

  • Katie

     He’s actually made a couple of good plays so far this season. I was shocked.

  • Eddie Von White

     LMHO – Laughing my head off.

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