8/5 Extra bases – UPDATED
After pitching in four of the last five games, Carlos Marmol was expected to get Friday off. Maybe. Mike Quade said he would most likely lean toward lefty Sean Marshall as his closer on Friday instead of Marmol to give the right-hander a breather. Unless Marmol talks him out of it. Which he did, and he picked up his 24th save. In his last five games, Marmol has given up one hit over five innings and struck out seven.
“The funny thing is he still can be better,” Quade said of Marmol, who is 21-for-28 in save situations for the season. “The quality of the breaking ball is back but I’ve seen it even more devastating. He’s pounding the zone.”
* Friday was the first Cubs game at Wrigley Field since the ballpark hosted two Paul McCartney concerts, and the field was in fairly good shape. The right field corner looked beat up and there were marks leftover from the seating. Quade has dealt with having to share a facility in Oakland. The Athletics and Oakland Raiders both played at the coliseum.
“That field, for not being maybe a great stadium, the grounds were incredible and the groundskeeper there did a great job,” Quade said. “When the [NFL] preseason started, oh boy. The infield was fine but the outfield was a mess.
“You understand sometimes when the outfield gets beat up but if you wind up with offensive linemen on your infield, it’s not fun,” he said.
The Cubs played in St. Louis after Busch Stadium hosted a U2 concert and the outfield had been re-sodded.
* On Saturday, Wrigley Field will help celebrate the 100th birthday of Ronald Reagan. The Cubs will partner with the Dixon Park District and the Illinois Reagan Centennial Commission to honor the only president born in Illinois who was a Cubs announcer. Reagan actually was born Feb. 6, 1911. His oldest son, Michael Reagan, will attend the game and throw out a first pitch just as his father did in 1988.
* The Cubs announced updated start times for two games to be played at Wrigley Field. The Aug. 21 game against the Cardinals will start at 7:09 p.m. CT and be broadcast by ESPN. The Sept. 17 game against the Astros, which had been listed as “to be determined,” will now start at 12:05 p.m. CT and be televised by WGN TV.
* As of now, Rodrigo Lopez will stay in the Cubs’ rotation, Quade said. The right-hander was roughed up in his last start against the Pirates, lasting four innings.
* The Cubs wives will host their annual food drive on Saturday at Wrigley Field to benefit the Lakeview Pantry. Fans are encouraged to bring non-perishable items and will receive an autographed photo of a Cubs player in return.
* How important is pitching? The Cubs now have 14 quality starts in their last 21 games, and are 10-4 in those games.
“I don’t think it’s rocket science,” Quade said. “It starts with our pitching and our pitching has been better. I wish we would’ve put seven or eight on the board today but we didn’t but we still found a way [to win].”
— Carrie Muskat