WTF, Sean Marshall? Marshall's outing was uglier than Susan Boyle in the morning. The train wreck raised his ERA to 4.73. The silver lining is that our bullpen threw 4.2 scoreless innings, including the major league debut of Jason Waddell, who struck out two batters in his one inning of work.
And wtf, offense? Eric Freakin' Milton? A bad outing by Marshall, a loss to the Dodgers, fine. But letting Eric Milton get the win with a strong performance? Not cool.
The other good news, though, is that the Cubs split a series with the best team in baseball, outscored them by one run in the series, and held the Dodgers to 11 runs in four games. Let's hope the Cubs can carry some of that success onto the road, where they've struggled mightily of late.
While Marshall will start at least once on the upcoming nine-game road trip, he's headed back to the bullpen when Harden returns, according to the Sun Times:
Manager Lou Piniella said Sunday the day off allows him the flexibility of giving Dempster an extra day of rest, using Sunday's starter, Sean Marshall, on Friday in Cincinnati and Dempster on Saturday. Dempster pitched seven scoreless innings Saturday against the Los Angeles Dodgers but has been battling the blister most of the season.With off days on the next four Mondays, including today, it sounds like the Cubs may go to a four-man rotation next week until Harden comes back. One would assume Jason Waddell will be the odd man out when Harden's return forces a roster move.
''If he needs an extra day, we're going to give it to him,'' Piniella said. ''He'll get an extra day regardless. It could be an extra two days.''
Piniella also confirmed that Marshall will return to the bullpen, where Piniella desperately needs a reliable left-hander, once right-hander Rich Harden returns from the disabled list in the next 10 days to two weeks. That means right-hander Randy Wells (0-2 with a 1.80 ERA) will stick in the rotation as the fifth starter.
The Cubs had a 15-13 May after a 10-11 April. On to June! For a healthy dose of optimism, I give you Rick Morrissey.
Saturday: Cubs 7, Dodgers 0
-Pitching: in the first three games of this series, the Cubs have held the highest-scoring offense in the National League to just three total runs. Ryan Dempster was Saturday's hero, notching his best start of the year with seven innings of three-hit ball.
-Hitting: the offense showed up as well, pounding out 10 hits and drawing seven walks, five against journeyman Jeff Weaver--why teams keep signing him I'll never know. Bradley had three of the hits, the first time he's done that all year. His average is up to .223.
-Defense: the infield turned two double plays after turning three on Friday. With 43 twin killings thus far, the Cubs are on pace to turn 145 this year. That's almost exactly what I predicted.
Gatorade dispenser lasts all of two months
When Carlos Zambrano showed the dispenser who's boss last week, it was some of the best contact any Cub had made in quite a while. And because of temper tantrums like that one, the dispenser is now a relic of the past.
Did you know ... (stats courtesy of Sports Illustrated)
-The Dodgers have three walk-off wins on bases-loaded walks.
-The Yankees lead the majors with six walk-off wins and 17 come-from-behind wins.