9/26 Quick pitch
Prior to Friday’s game, Lou Piniella was asked if he was comfortable with the way the Cubs pitching is set up for 2010.
“Our pitching is pretty well intact,” Piniella said. “I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen as far as [next year] — that’s Jim’s department, is all I’m trying to say. The nucleus of our pitching is here and I’m quite comfortable with a lot of these young kids. I’ve expressed that feeling to our general manager. They’ve gotten a chance to pitch a lot and I like what I see, quite honestly.”
Looking ahead, the Cubs rotation would be Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly, Randy Wells, possibly Tom Gorzelanny. This season, the only pitcher returning to the bullpen was Carlos Marmol. For 2010, Marmol will be the closer and could be joined in the pen by Jeff Stevens, Sean Marshall, Aaron Heilman, Justin Berg, David Patton and Esmailin Caridad. It’s hard to say where Jeff Samardzija fits, and whether he needs more time in the Minors.
John Grabow, Kevin Gregg and Rich Harden are free agents.
Cubs pitchers have held opponents to three or less runs in each of the last eight games, posting a 2.14 ERA. In those eight games, the starters have six quality starts and are 3-1 with a 2.18 ERA.
Some follow-up notes on Zambrano’s two-hit shutout over the Giants on Friday:
* It was Big Z’s 10th complete game, and first since his no-hitter Sept. 14, 2008, against Houston at Miller Park. Four of his 10 CGs have been shutouts.
* Friday’s game was the first nine-inning complete game for a Cubs pitcher. Sean Marshall was credited with a CG in a rain-shortened five-inning start May 26 against Pittsburgh.
* Zambrano picked up his 11th multi-RBI game, and third this year.
– Carrie Muskat