8/18 Closure

Remember 2007 when Ryan Dempster was the Cubs closer? Dempster blew a four-run lead against the Mets in mid-May in New York, and when the team returned home, Lou Piniella said the right-hander was switching to the rotation. Thirty minutes later, Dempster was back as the closer.

Piniella seemed more determined to make a change after Monday’s game against San DIego, which Kevin Gregg lost, giving up four runs in the ninth as the Padres rallied for a 4-1 win.

In the first half, Gregg was 3-2 with 16 saves and three blown saves in 42 games, compiling a 3.32 ERA. In 16 games in the second half, the right-hander is 1-3 with seven saves and three blown saves, and has a 7.47 ERA. He’s given up 15 runs and walked seven in 15 2/3 innings in the second half.

In eight games this month, Gregg has a 1-3 ERA with two saves, three blown saves, and an 11.25 ERA. He’s given up 10 hits and walked two in eight innings. That’s not going to get the job done.

The candidates for the job? How about John Grabow, who has been consistent since the Cubs acquired him from the Pirates July 30. In his last 18 games, he’s given up three runs on 10 hits and 12 walks while striking out 13. He has not given up a run in his last eight games, all with the Cubs, and opponents are batting .095 against him. In his career, the left-hander has six saves and 16 blown saves, scattered from 2004-09.

Carlos Marmol’s problems have been walks. In 15 games since the All-Star break, he’s walked 10 and struck out 21, giving up five runs in 14 1/3 innings. The right-hander walked 41 in 87 1/3 innings over 82 games last year, and issued 42 free passes in 46 games in the first half alone.

He did battle Gregg for the closer’s job this spring, but it was determined at that time that the Cubs would be better off keeping Marmol in his role as No. 1 set-up man. He may have the best stuff of the bullpen corps.

Angel Guzman has one save, June 7 against Cincinnati. In six games this month, the right-hander has given up two runs on six hits over nine innings, and has not walked a batter. Opponents are batting .188 off him. But he’s young, and this is his first full season in the big leagues.

We’ll find out soon enough.

— Carrie Muskat


How about Woody? I know that sounds old but the decisions at the end of last year and what we have seen this year are just mind-boggling. It is really hard to watch our team this year. A lot of the problem is with the ownership and the management. The DeRosa Trade was horrible and has affected this team terribly especially in something that “used” to be a big commodity, known as chemistry or in another term: relationships. You do not win 97 games (08 Cubs) without chemistry, leadership and so forth. Nothing against Miles but he is no DeRosa and he has been on the DL more this year than DeRosa and his production is no where near DeRosa’s. The ownership not willing to back Woody was terrible after Woody sacrificed a lesser contract in 2008 to stay with his original team, change to a closer and save 34 games. Yes Woody had 6 blsv’s but that again went along with 34 saves, 84 so’s only 18 bb’s and ONLY 3 hr’s all in his first season as a closer! People do not talk a lot about this but it is difficult for pitchers to move from team to team and I believe that Woody would be having a much better season had he been with us! So, what does management do? They trade away another good prospect (Sounds like what they did when they went after Juan Pierre and gave the Marlins 3 prospects) to the Marlins and we have to avoid arbitration with Gregg? Gregg is not a premier closer. I trust Woody much more with the ball then I do Gregg. Also, not keeping Blanco has hurt too as a young Soto was learning well from his teacher. Injuries are a part of the game but areas that you have control over, like personnel, are the management’s responsibility. And I feel the management/ownership has been trying very hard to hurt this team not help it because how else do you explain the trades made last year and this year? It is time for Hendry to go and I cannot wait for The Tribune/Sam Zell to get out of our Cubs face and let the new owners be apart of something special.

When Zambrano returns, put Dempster in the bullpen as closure, Marmol as setup, and Gregg as spot relief. Dempster runs out of gas too soon, ex., his last playoff game against the Ddgers last year. Use your young arms in the rotation.

Since we are all grasping at straws for a zany solution to our closer situation how about Harden? He can’t handle a full workload as a starting pitcher either per game or 200 inning per year plus he can strike out guys. Just a thought since this season is lost we can see how he responds to the closer role as we have enough starting pitching to get by in a losing year anyway with Zambrano, Lilly, Wells, Gorzelany and Dempster. And I do rank Dempster last as he has FAST become just an average pitcher at best. Or better yet, to fix the closer problem let’s hope Hendry is fired and replaced with a competant, smart, savvy GM that knows what he’s doing!!!! Oh yeah, and HENDRY MUST GO.

I agree. Hendry, with his knucklehead decisions isn’t bringing the Cubs title any closer. Derosa was Mr. everything. He could play anywhere, he hit for average, and could slam one out of the park on any given day. WHAT WAS HENDRY THINKING?!!!!!!! Either he’s not to bright or he was purposely playing against his own organization. Bring us a GM with the mindset of Sweet Lou, and the Cubs might have a chance! Hendry, go with the Cardinals, Brewers, Pirates, Reds, or Astros.

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