Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The streak is over: Cubs Marshall a wet win

Tuesday: Cubs 6, Pirates 1 (6 inn.)

The Cubs got an assist from Mother Nature to end their eight-game losing streak, and we'll take it. The offense scored in four of the five innings they came to the plate, and Sean Marshall was on cruise control when the rain washed the rest of the game away in the top of the sixth. It goes in the books as a complete game, and it's just the first of the season for the Cubs (they only had two all of last year).

I hate to dwell, but the two players who could have pinch-hit instead of Carlos Zambrano on Monday were Kosuke Fukudome and Mike Fontenot; Fukudome blasted a homer in his first at-bat, and Fontenot doubled to right in his. Fukudome walked as well and scored two runs, while Fontenot went 2-for-3 and is now 5-for-9 in his last three games.

Fontenot's recent string of success is nothing, though, compared to fellow shorty (he's 5'10) Freddy Sanchez. After a 6-for-6 game Monday, Sanchez went 2-for-3 Tuesday, making him 8-for-9 at the plate over the last two days.

Zambrano takes the hill today in his second start since coming off the DL, while Zach Duke (5-4, 2.77) gets the nod for the Pirates. Duke won 10 games in 2006, but struggled in '07 and '08; he's off to the best start of his career this year. Hopefully Derrek Lee will be healthy and ready to go today, because though Hoffpauir has played well of late, he's batting just .182 against lefties this season.

Cubs notes

-With the Cardinals' win over the Brewers, the Cubs are back to four games out of first.

-Marshall's win means that every Cubs starter now has at least three wins on the season.

-After their horrendous six-game offensive malaise, the Cubs have now racked up 14 runs on 18 hits and 11 walks in their last 13 innings.

MLB note

-Zack Greinke pitched a complete game six-hitter against the Tigers, allowing just one run ... and his ERA went up! It was Greinke's fifth complete game of the year, and he's now 8-1 with a 0.84 ERA.


  1. You wrote yesterday that you can't see the Cubs winning the division without significant changes to the bullpen, and I agree. So here's the drastic measure that I propose:
    1) Sign Jake Peavy (or another solid starter)
    2) Demote Gregg to middle relief
    3) Use one of our no-longer needed starters as the new closer

    I've argued before that Marmol is more valuable as the set-up man since he is used more often than the closer. So, I say make Dempster our closer. He did a great job in '07 and Sean Marshall is pitching pretty well in the rotation. True, Dempster's making a lot of money to pitch one inning, but so are a lot of other high-quality closers.

    Is this likely? Of course not. But I think it would make us a significantly better team.

  2. Gregg has not been great this year, and I think Marmol might eventually work his way into the closer's role. But I don't think Gregg is the main reason our bullpen has struggled. It's mostly been Cotts and guys like Patton and Heilman who have hurt us. Having Marshall in the 'pen (if we acquired another starter) would help solve the LOOGY (lefty one out guy) problem, and having Wells in the 'pen would provide another solid right-handed option.

    I think your scenario would make the Cubs a better team, but I think Dempster will get back on track and it's tough to take a 17-game winner out of the rotation while leaving a young lefty in there when we need a lefty in the 'pen as it is.