Thursday, September 10, 2009

Getting closer to being the closer

Wednesday: Cubs 8, Pirates 5

I say this very, very tentatively (please read slowly for effect): perhaps the Cubs have found their closer for 2010. I sort of twitched when I typed that, knowing the stomach-churning, hair-graying things that Carlos Marmol is capable of. But he's now 7-for-7 in save opportunities since being anointed the closer, and even more importantly, he's been throwing strikes. Eight of his 11 pitches were in the zone in his perfect ninth yesterday, and 11 of his 13 pitches found the zone in his perfect inning of work on Monday.

If Marmol can keep up the good work next year, Hendry (or whoever is GM) can get to work solidifying the rest of the bullpen instead of having to spend a bunch of money on a hit-or-miss closer (e.g., even the infallible Brad Lidge of '08 has an ERA upwards of seven this year).

While it obviously isn't going to result in a playoff appearance this year, the deadline trade the Cubs made is looking pretty good right about now. The Cubs hit Kevin Hart around pretty good yesterday (and he doled out six free passes), and he has struggled mightily with the Pirates to the tune of a 1-5 record and a 6.46 ERA.

Additionally, John Grabow has expressed an interest in remaining with the Cubs beyond '09, and Tom Gorzelanny may do the same (if the Cubs believe he can contribute).

Could the Pirates be any nicer to the Cubs? We've built up a 9-2 record against them this year after a 14-4 record last year, plus the aforementioned trade that's looking like a win for the Cubs. And I won't even mention the time Hendry fleeced them at the deadline in '03.

And lastly: way to go, Micah Hoffpauir. After going deep in back-to-back games, Hoffpauir has reached double digits in home runs and has also driven in 28 runs. Those stats, when fleshed out over a full season's worth of at-bats, translate to 24 HR and 62 RBI.

No comments:

Post a Comment