Results tagged ‘ Dale Sveum ’

6/20 Marmol: “I’ve been through this”

Carlos Marmol has not pitched in the Cubs’ three games since he blew a three-run lead in the ninth against the Mets on Sunday, which resulted in a 4-3 loss to New York.

“I feel great,” Marmol said Thursday. “I’m waiting for the opportunity to pitch. We’ll see.”

This season, Dale Sveum has tried to get Marmol back in a game the day after he has a rough outing. Not this time.

“We’ve got a lot of guys in the bullpen,” Sveum said of the Cubs, who have been carrying eight relievers since Saturday when outfielder David DeJesus was put on the disabled list. “The other times, I did want to get him back on the mound. [Sunday's game] to me, wasn’t like some of the other outings. He just got hit [on Sunday] more than imploding and throwing balls all over the place.”

Marmol, who has walked 21 and given up 25 hits over 26 2/3 innings, has been working on the side with bullpen coach Lester Strode, who has been with the right-hander since he signed with the Cubs in 1999.

“I’ve been through this,” Marmol said of the tough outing. “I’m working out, talking to Lester. He knows me better than anybody here. We’ll see.”

In the seven games when Marmol has pitched with zero days rest, he’s posted a 1.35 ERA, and is 2-0. Those numbers change dramatically when he pitches on one-day rest. In those 11 games on one-day rest, Marmol is 0-4 with a 15.26 ERA.

“I love to pitch,” Marmol said. “I can’t make that decision, though. I have to wait for my opportunity.”

Said Sveum: “It’s not a priority [to get him back in a game] or anything.”

– Carrie Muskat

6/19 Cardinals 4, Cubs 1

Yadier Molina guessed right. He belted a tie-breaking two-run home run in the sixth to lift the Cardinals and Jake Westbrook to a 4-1 victory over the Cubs. Edwin Jackson took the loss, ending a brief two-game win streak. The right-hander, who appeared in 13 games (12 starts) for the Cardinals in 2011, gave up six hits over 5 1/3 innings.

“It was a good outing against the best hitting team in the league — he did a good job,” Dale Sveum said of Jackson. “We scored one earned run on two hits. Jackson was going to have to basically pitch a shutout [to beat Westbrook].”

And it was one pitch, a two-seam fastball, that cost Jackson the game.

“I felt like it wasn’t a super bad outing tonight,” Jackson said. “I thought it was a pretty good pitch but either he was looking for it or he guessed right. It was right in his zone. I threw my pitch with conviction, the pitch I wanted to throw. Sometimes that happens.”

The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead in the first on Allen Craig’s RBI single. The Cubs answered in the second. Anthony Rizzo singled with one out in the second, and was then safe on an error by Matt Carpenter, who threw a potential double play ball by Ryan Sweeney into shallow left. Welington Castillo walked to load the bases, and Rizzo scored on Darwin Barney’s sacrifice fly to center. John Jay fired a strike to Molina, but Rizzo was able to dance around the catcher, who muffed the throw, and was safe.

St. Louis had a runner at first with one out in the sixth when Molina connected on his fifth home run, launching a 1-2 fastball into the left field bleachers. Jackson then plunked Jay with a pitch, and was pulled. Carlos Villanueva entered and gave up back to back singles, including a RBI single to Pete Kozma. Before the game, Sveum said the Cardinals catcher may be MVP of the league.

“Right now, we’re hoping he hits the ball at somebody — he’s that locked in,” Sveum said of Molina.

Westbrook combined with two other pitchers on a two-hitter. Besides Rizzo’s single in the first, Luis Valbuena singled to open the third but was caught stealing.

On the plus side, Jackson had his third straight solid outing.

“Earlier, I felt I was kind of mechanical, kind of too much in a bubble, and I had to go back to having fun,” Jackson said. “We know it’s a job but at the end of the day, it’s a game, and we have to go out there and have fun doing so.”

The right-hander was 1-8 before these last three starts. Was he thinking too much?

“Just kind of over-analyzing everything,” he said. “I won’t say I was trying to be too perfect, but it was just too robotic. You have to sometimes allow yourself to do what your body does and allow your athleticism to take over. We’re going to make mistakes, we’re human. Some balls come back over the plate, some times they won’t.”

– Carrie Muskat

6/17 Sveum ejected in 7th

Cubs manager Dale Sveum was ejected from Monday’s game in the seventh inning after a close play at home plate. The Cardinals had runners at second and third with one out when Pete Kozma hit a grounder to third baseman Luis Valbuena, who threw to first. Kozma was safe, and first baseman Anthony Rizzo threw home, but his throw sailed over catcher Welington Castillo. Yadier Molina, the runner at third, broke for home. Castillo recovered the ball and threw to pitcher Travis Wood who was covering at home, and the throw appeared to be in time, but home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn ruled Molina was safe.

Sveum immediately sprinted from the dugout to argue the call. Third base umpire Fieldin Culbreth escorted Sveum back to the dugout. It’s the third time he’s been ejected this season.

6/17 Marmol is still here, but won’t close

You won’t see Carlos Marmol closing for the Cubs any more. Manager Dale Sveum said Marmol, who blew a three-run lead in the ninth on Sunday against the Mets subbing for Kevin Gregg, will be back in his role as a late inning reliever.

“[Marmol] has pitched well in the seventh and eighth, and even pitched well in some tie games in the ninth and the 10th inning, too,” Sveum said Monday. “Obviously, he’s having difficulty with the last three outs and a save. We have our closer [in Gregg] when he has his rest. [Marmol] is back in the same role he was in.”

Sunday was Marmol’s first save opportunity since April 25, when he was successful against the Marlins. The right-hander began the season as the Cubs closer but lost that job after the first week of the season when he struggled against the Braves in the opening series. Gregg was not available on Sunday after pitching four straight days.

This is the last year of Marmol’s three-year contract with the Cubs, and he’s being paid $9.8 million. Releasing him is not an option, Sveum said.

“People don’t realize [closing] is not really his job any more,” Sveum said.

The Cubs manager knows his decision to stick with Marmol after Marlon Byrd’s leadoff homer in the ninth on Sunday wasn’t well received by fans.

“That’s people prerogative,” Sveum said. “I don’t really care what people think about me. That’s part of this job to be second-guessed. There’s nothing you can do about that. Players are put in positions to perform and if they don’t, the decision making will always be second-guessed. It doesn’t matter what the situation is. If I would’ve put somebody else in who has never closed a game before and they give it up, I’d be in the same boat [hearing criticism].”

Marmol was a successful closer for the Cubs in 2010 and 2011, totaling 38 and 34 saves, respectively. But in close and late situations this year, teams are batting .308 against the right-hander, and in other situations, they’re hitting .191.

“We know that those three outs are very, very difficult to get for some reason,” Sveum said.

Who will close for the Cubs when Gregg isn’t available? One option in the current series against the Cardinals is lefty James Russell.

“This is a team you could do it against because there’s no rhyme or reason to matchups or anything,” Sveum said. “They’re so good against both right-handers and left-handers that you go to maybe your most reliable guy. This is a time where you could use Russell because there’s no real matchups here.”

– Carrie Muskat

6/17 Some Marmol numbers

With Kevin Gregg unavailable Sunday after pitching four days in a row, Dale Sveum turned to Carlos Marmol in the ninth with a 3-0 lead against the Mets.

Sveum felt the Cubs’ 3-0 lead was enough cushion for Marmol, who entered in the ninth. But Marmol gave up a solo home run to Marlon Byrd, then walked Lucas Duda and served up a single to John Buck. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who was batting .103, then hit a three-run homer for the walkoff win.

“All the other innings, he’s done a pretty good job,” Sveum said. “He’s having trouble with those last three outs.”

Marmol said: “You blow the save and lose the game. It’s tough. I left the pitch up, and it was right down the middle.”

One thing to keep in mind, Marmol has not been horrible every time he’s pitched, but when he doesn’t have success, it usually is late in games, and dramatic. In the month of May, Marmol compiled a 3.48 ERA over 11 games, giving up four earned runs — and three of those came in one game, May 4 vs. the Reds — on eight hits and four walks over 10 1/3 innings. Prior to Sunday’s game, he had appeared in six games, including an outing June 1 against the Diamondbacks when he was charged with four runs in one-third of an inning. Since that outing, he appeared in five games, had given up two hits and one run while striking out three.

Since April 8, which was his first outing after having the closer job taken away, Marmol has appeared in 27 games, and has not given up a run in 25 of those outings. Eleven of the 13 earned runs off Marmol since April 8 have come in three appearances (May 4, June 1, Sunday).

Teams were hitting .229 against him going into Sunday’s game.

This season, Marmol has thrown 58 percent sliders, 42 percent fastballs. When he’s ahead in the count, he throws 72 percent sliders, and when he’s behind, he’ll throw 52 percent sliders. With two strikes, he throws his slider 87 percent of the time.

Another stat to consider: Batters are making contact on 47 percent of his fastballs, compared to 39 percent of his offspeed pitches.

For those who want the Cubs to trade Marmol, remember they need to find another team who feels the right-hander can help them. We’ll find out more about what Sveum and the Cubs do now with the right-hander later today in St. Louis.

– Carrie Muskat

6/14 Ian Stewart update

Ian Stewart was given a 10-day suspension on Friday for violating the loyalty clause in his contract. Stewart has appealed the suspension.

The Cubs suspended Stewart without pay Tuesday for venting on Twitter about the team and manager Dale Sveum. Stewart is on the Triple-A Iowa roster, and said the Cubs were making him “rot” in the Minors.

Stewart signed a $2 million contract this season, but was injured in the first intrasquad game, and did not play in Spring Training. After completing his Minor League rehab assignment, he was outrighted to Iowa. The Cubs are trying to negotiate an out in which Stewart would be granted his free agency without getting his salary.

If the 10-day suspension is upheld, Stewart would lose more than $110,000.

6/13 Castro back in No. 2 spot

After eight games in the bottom of the order, Starlin Castro was back in the No. 2 spot in the Cubs’ lineup on Thursday. The shortstop was dropped from second to seventh on June 4, and was inserted in the No. 6 spot on Wednesday. He went 2-for-28 in the eight games. Castro was batting .254 in 49 games in the No. 2 hole.

“We dabbled with it a little bit and obviously, the offense isn’t doing a whole lot with him down there,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Thursday. “It’s just getting back to where we were. He’s a guy who can swing the bat and we have all the confidence in the world he can come out of it. You need him up there more than three or four times. Hopefully, he can get that fifth at-bat.”

Castro isn’t the only one scuffling. Anthony Rizzo is batting .248, Darwin Barney .203, Luis Valbuena .238.

“There’s nobody right now who’s stepping up and doing anything in any position in the lineup,” Sveum said. “Sometimes you get to the point where you might want to pick the lineup out of a hat and see what happens.”

The Cubs were batting .158 in the last eight home games, and after Wednesday’s game, Rizzo mentioned that players aren’t having fun.

“Offensively, especially, you try to make guys understand these things are in cycles and go in cycles,” Sveum said. “You don’t use things as excuses but we’ve faced some pretty good pitching lately. You have to grind out the at-bats and all of a sudden it starts coming.”

– Carrie Muskat

6/12 Reds 2, Cubs 1

The Cubs have plenty of quality starts, but not enough quality at-bats. Brandon Phillips hit a game-tying RBI single and Todd Frazier belted a tie-breaking home run to lift the Reds to a 2-1 victory Wednesday over the Cubs, who can’t get their offense going.

The Reds now have won 12 straight at Wrigley, the longest consecutive streak by the same opponent in Cubs history. The Cubs, 7-21 against National League Central teams, are batting .210 against teams in their division, and .264 against everyone else. That won’t get it done.

“It’s getting frustrating because it’s the same game, almost,” Dale Sveum said. “We’ve obviously had a few of the games like [Tuesday, a 12-2 loss] but the starting pitcher pitches into the seventh inning and gives us quality starts and we’re not having quality at-bats on an every day basis. We’re not getting enough three, four, five quality at-bats from everybody on a daily basis.”

The focus has been on Starlin Castro’s offensive struggles but he’s not alone. Anthony Rizzo is 2-for-18 in his last six games and hasn’t homered since May 18.

“Rizzo hasn’t done anything in quite a while as well,” Sveum said. “Castro has probably had better at-bats than he has in the last month. We’ve got to get these guys going. They’re our better hitters and we’re not getting any solid contact or slugging percentage out of them at all.”

The Cubs are 2-8 this month, and began the day 16 games back in the Central.

“I think it’s going to test everyone’s character that we are far out of it,” Rizzo said. “We obviously aren’t playing very well right now. The pitchers are pitching their tails off and us hitters aren’t giving them anything to show for it. It’s going to be a grind.

“You’re just going to have to have fun,” Rizzo said. “When you look out there, it doesn’t seem like anyone is having fun. We need to pick each other up.”

Travis Wood did his part. The lefty limited the Reds to four hits over seven innings, and notched his 12th quality start out of 13 outings this season. His only non-quality start came on May 25 in Cincinnati, when Wood was charged with five runs in 5 2/3 innings. But he didn’t get any help.

“It’s a broken record,” Sveum said. “Woody just pitched another great game and has nothing to show for it.”

– Carrie Muskat

6/11 Stewart expected to be fined

Ian Stewart faces a fine and possible suspension by the Cubs for his rant on Twitter about his status in the organization. Cubs GM Jed Hoyer told the Chicago Tribune Tuesday that the team would deal with Stewart’s punishment privately.

“We spent the entire morning dealing with an issue that doesn’t help us get better as an organization,” Hoyer told the Tribune. “That’s not how we want to spend our time. What he did was really unprofessional and there are going to be consequences. Beyond that, I’m not going to comment.”

Stewart, 28, who started at first base Tuesday for Iowa against Oklahoma City, was 1-for-3 with a RBI double Monday night for Triple-A Iowa. After the game, he vented on Twitter. A fan asked when Stewart if there was “any word when you’re heading back to Chicago.” Stewart replied: “Probably never.”

Another person responded to Stewart, saying he should quit baseball. Stewart’s response: “Why should I quit? I’m making 2 mill in AAA like u would give that up by quitting”

Stewart signed a one-year, $2 million contract last December after the Cubs non-tendered him.

Someone else said that if Luis Valbuena was hurt, Stewart would be called up. Stewart’s response: “I honestly believe if Valbuena were to get hurt cubs wouldn’t cal me back up just MHO”

He then added: “I said that because the cubs are done with me … there (sic) going to let me rott (sic) in AAA all season and then non tender me after.”

Stewart suggested the Cubs “might as well release” him so he could sign with another team. Stewart said Cubs manager Dale Sveum was the reason he won’t play for the big league team. Stewart said: “I think dale doesn’t like me and he’s running the show.”

– Carrie Muskat

6/9 Tough NL Central

The Cubs have just six wins against NL Central teams, the fewest for any team within its own division this year.

“The pitching is as good as I’ve seen in a long time,” Dale Sveum said. “It’s all about pitching. St. Louis has the elite offense, the way they hit with men in scoring position. It’s one of the elite divisions in baseball right now, mainly because of the pitching.”

The Cardinals, Pirates and Reds rank second, third and fourth in the NL in team ERA. The Braves are first; the Cubs are eighth.

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