Tagged: Carlos Marmol

WHO’S NEXT

Theo & Co. have been busy.  Feldman, Marmol, Hairston, Clevenger and a minor league player have all been traded.  The two most notable names the Cubs have received are starting pitcher Jake Arrieta (27) and relief pitcher Pedro Strop (28) as well as relief pitcher Matt Guerrier, money for the International Signing Pool and a minor league pitcher.

I think Matt Garza will probably be next, but I would love for the Cubs to keep him.  A healthy Garza combined with Travis Wood and Jeff Samardzija make a solid core to a starting rotation.  The Cubs pen has been horrendous this year and the Cubs lead all the Majors in 1 run losses.  Alfonso Soriano has heated up in July with 4 homers and a .321 batting average for the month as of today.  So, it may be time to ship the veteran.  And there are always a ton of other players that could be dealt.

No matter who is traded, it is obvious that the Cubs are getting younger and continue to decrease their payroll while strengthening the minor league system.  Who knows, maybe this winter we will spend some of that money that Theo & Co. have saved up.

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FUTURE OF THE CUBS

I know I like to write and talk a lot about the Cubs future.  I keep focusing on this hope that Theo & Co will put together not only a World Series Championship, but   build a dynasty with multiple championships.  Maybe it gets old to some and amuses others, but I truly believe we are building a foundation to grow on.

Over the last week, the Cubs have traded a minor league player to the Astros, Carlos Marmol to the Dodgers and Scott Feldman to the Orioles.  These trades allowed the Cubs some flexibility for the international signing pool as well as getting rid of Marmol.  Theo & Co. are on pace to exceed that maximum amount allowed this year in the international pool and may be penalized for next year’s pool.  I’m good with that if it’s true that we are getting 2 of the top international players in Eloy Jiminez (OF) and Gleyber Torres (SS).

Add the international signings with the draft strategy that the Cubs are using now that Jim Hendry is gone.  Speaking of Hendry, remember the 2010 1st Round Pick, Hayden Simpson?  Well, he has already been released from the independent Frontier League Southern Illinois Miners.  He pitched 7.1 innings and was unfortunately lit up.  His ERA was 15.95 with more walks than strikeouts.  Anyway, Theo & Co. are drafting with a strategy for the long haul in my opinion.  I like the direction the team is going.  Hopefully, we can sign Kris Bryant, our 1st Round Pick this year, soon.

Add these drafted players along with our international signings and I expect the Cubs to have one of the highest rated minor league systems in all of baseball.  Hopefully, that will eventually translate to wins at the Major League level.

In addition to the moves the moves that have already been made the Cubs  still have Matt Garza, Kevin Gregg, Alfonso Soriano and a handful of other players that are likely to get traded this month.  It will be interesting to see what happens.

Bottom line, I like the direction the Cubs are going.  I’m not completely sold on Theo’s approach, but I’m hopeful that it will work.

WAY TO GO MARMOL!

I watched a great game for 8 1/2 innings last night.  The Cubs played good baseball.  Then our closer, Carlos Marmol, came in a blew a 3 run lead.   First, he loaded the bases and then he got whiplash when he gave up a grand slam.  As effective as he can be when he’s on he’s equally disastrous when he’s off.  Last night he was off.

I understand even Mariano Rivera blows blows a save from time to time.  Yet, I would be more comfortable with Sean Marshall as our closer.  I say the Cubs should trade Marmol this off-season and see what we can get out of him.

Anyway, Ryan Dempster pitched a good game and it was wasted.  Hopefully, the Cubs will rebound this afternoon and win the series in Houston.

ANOTHER ONE SLIPS AWAY

Well, after taking a 4-3 lead in last night’s game against the Pirates, I really thought we were going to get a win.  Our bullpen has been one of our strengths this year in my opinion.  Some could blame the bullpen for being overworked, but closer Carlos Marmol didn’t make any excuses for last night’s performance.  I like that!

Still the Cubs cannot seem to put it all together.  Carlos Pena has been hitting homers left and right since the start of May.  Aramis Ramirez has been on a tear for about a month now.  Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro have been solid all season.  Our outfield has been plagued by inconsistency and injuries unfortunately and the same thing can be said for our starting rotation as well.  However, like I said earlier, our bullpen has been one of our strengths this year.  Unfortunately, they let one slip away last night.

Going into the All Star break the Cubs will be baseballs only team without a 3 game win streak this season.  That’s pretty sad.  It shows how inconsistent we have been.  Some of that inconsistency can be blamed on the large number of injuries we’ve sustained, but good teams have deep benches that pick up the slack.  However, even our bench players have seen time on the DL this year.  Both Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker have spent time on the DL this summer already and they are 2 of our better bench players when healthy.

When it’s all said and done, we just aren’t winning baseball games.  Our starting pitching is weak mainly due to injuries.  Our defense has also been a weakness, but I feel like it has improved some and we need that to continue.  Our bullpen is usually very good, but even they have bad games.  It’s everything combined together that is causing the Cubs to lose games.  Hopefully, we can turn that around after the All Star break.

DOWN ON QUADE

Well, I must admit that I am embarrassed by the Cubs performance this season and especially over the last week or so.  We’ve lost 7 in a row including being swept at home by the Astros and on the road against our Arch rivals.   Two of those losses were extra inning games ended by walk off home runs by Albert Pujols.  Anyway, we aren’t playing very good baseball as a whole and it’s obvious.

I still don’t understand Mike Quade and his lineup.  I believe that Aramis Ramirez needs to bat third.  That gives us our best chance to drive in runs in my opinion.  I know he’s not producing all the well this season, but part of that is due to having little protection in the lineup.

Quade baffled me early in the season when he platooned Fukudome and Colvin in right field.  Both are left handed batters and he let Fukudome play against right handed pitchers and Colvin against left handed pitchers.

Quade frustrated me when he kept batting Marlon Byrd in the three hole.  I think Byrd is better suited to hit 1st, 2nd or 5th in the lineup.  He’s never been known to be a great run producer.  That’s usually who you want batting third…..a run producer!

Quade has also aggravated me with the handling of our starting rotation early in the season.  There was a stretch where he kept leaving starters in too long and not trusting the bullpen setup of Wood, Marshall and Marmol.

I guess I am taking out a bit of my frustrations on our new manager and I know it’s the players who play the games.  But he’s setting the lineups, making the pitching changes and is in charge of this team.  I know that he’s competitive, but I think he’s going to have a long summer.

SOME GOOD STUFF

Wow, I’m upset that I wasn’t able to stay up for the entire game last night.  I fell asleep somewhere in the bottom of the 7th inning.  When you get up at 5:00AM everyday, those late night games are a struggle to watch.  But I did get to see Carlos Pena smash his first homer.  I hope that opens up the flood gates and he starts ripping them on a regular basis like he’s capable of. 

Another good thing I’ve been seeing lately is the hitting of Geovany Soto.  The catcher is only hitting .239, but he’s hit 4 doubles in the last 3 games and is hitting the ball hard and taking it to right field.  If he keeps hitting the way he has lately I think his average and power numbers will increase greatly for the month of May.  
Finally, Ryan Dempster did not get the win last night.  Yet, he looked great!!!  He pitched 7 strong innings giving up only 1 run against Ethier, Kemp and the Dodgers.  Kerry Wood pitched a scoreless 8th inning for the win and Marmol got the save.  Niether Wood nor Marmol walked anyone or even gave up a hit.  The Cubs also played good defensively not making any errors.  That’s the perfect recipe for winning ballgames.  Let’s hope this continues!
One last thing I forgot to mention.  Jeff Samardzija is putting together a solid season.  He has 2 wins, 1 hold and a 2.45 ERA in 18.1 innings pitched.  He still needs to cut down on his walks, but he has been more than effective and hasn’t given up a run since April 12th against the Houston Astros.  
Overall, I am starting to get excited again.  We are finally starting to look like a team that can win more than we lose.

FINALLY! A WIN!

I was able to stay up late last night and watch the Cubs actually win a game.  It was nice to see.  We had good starting pitching and Quade did not leave Zambrano in too long.  He trusted his setup of Wood, Marshall and Marmol for the 7th, 8th and 9th innings.  We played good defense and had three solo homers.  Soriano was the hitter of the night blasting two bombs!  I liked the fact that Castro batted third again too.  Now, if we can repeat last nights performance I would be really happy.

Matt Garza will be pitching against Ian Kennedy tonight. Hopefully, we can play better for Garza and get him his first win of the season and as a Cub.  Even though he’s striking out a lot of batters he hasn’t had much luck.  He pitched 6 shutout innings in a no-decision against San Diego, lost to Colorado due to 4 errors and 4 unearned runs, has seen the Cubs get shutout twice during his starts and saw the bullpen blow the lead in another.  That’s five starts and little run support, bad defense and a loss to the bullpen.  Hopefully, tonight is the night the guys rally around Garza and get him a win.