Results tagged ‘ John Grabow ’

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 

9/8 Free agents & more

After Monday’s game, Derrek Lee was asked what if the Cubs brought back most of the same players, could the results be totally different?

“It could be totally different [in 2010],” Lee said. “There are so many variables in baseball. I don’t think it’s like other sports when you can kind of talk things up. Guys have down years. You see it all the time. This year, it just happened we had a few guys who were either hurt or had down years. But you fully expect those guys to be back and rebound.”

For those of you looking ahead, the free agents to be on the Cubs’ roster include:

Rich Harden

Kevin Gregg

John Grabow

Reed Johnson

I’ll let you discuss who to keep. I’m sure joeydafish has some ideas.

For the roster geeks, the players who are arbitration eligible include: Jeff Baker, Tom Gorzelanny, Aaron Heilman, Neal Cotts, Carlos Marmol, Koyie Hill, Sean Marshall, Mike Fontenot, Angel Guzman and Ryan Theriot.

The Cubs already are committed to about $122 million to players for 2010. That list includes Carlos Zambrano, Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, Lee, Ted Lilly, Kosuke Fukudome, Ryan Dempster, Milton Bradley, Aaron Miles and Jeff Samardzija.

— Carrie Muskat

9/2 Grabbing an opportunity

Lefty John Grabow has made 16 consecutive scoreless appearances to begin his Cubs career. That’s a franchise record, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Before Grabow, the longest consecutive scoreless streak was 11 games, set by Neal Cotts April 2-May 6, 2007. Grabow is not alone. The Cubs bullpen entered Wednesday’s game with a 19 1/3 scoreless streak since Aug. 27.

“Everyone’s throwing the ball well,” Grabow said Wednesday. “We’re taking advantage of our starting pitching doing well.”

Grabow, acquired from the Pirates along with Tom Gorzelanny on July 30, will be a free agent at season’s end. Would he consider staying?

“So far, so good,” he said. “We’ll have to see.”

There’s no comparison between Chicago and Pittsburgh.

“The biggest difference is when you come to the field here, you expect to win and there [in Pittsburgh] you’re just hoping to win,” he said.

— Carrie Muskat

8/26 Good cause

Cubs catcher Geovany Soto will be the chairman at the second annual Rooters Ball on Wednesday, Sept. 2, to be held at Harry Caray’s restaurant, 33 W. Kinzie Street in Chicago. Proceeds will benefit Chicago Cubs Charities, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and The Major League Baseball Dominican Development Alliance.

Other players who will join Soto at the event include Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Marmol, Randy Wells and John Grabow. Tickets are $100 each, with 100 percent of the proceeds being donated, and can be purchased at or call (312) 828-0966. Fans attending will enjoy a cocktail reception, buffet dinner and the chance to mingle with the players. There will also be a silent auction, the opportunity to pose for photos with the Cubs, and more.

* Speaking of good guys, Ramirez, Wells, Ryan Theriot, Ted Lilly and Ryan Dempster were filmed reading children’s books on Wednesday at Wrigley Field. The videos will be played at Children’s Memorial Hospital for the young patients there. The only problem Skyline Productions had with the taping was the players were fighting over which books to read.

— Carrie Muskat

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

8/17 Closer by committee?

Expect a new closer on Tuesday. After Monday’s game, which the Cubs lost 4-1, Lou Piniella hinted that Kevin Gregg could be out.

“I think we’re going to make some changes as far as what we’re going to do in late innings,” Piniella said. “We’ll have some word [Tuesday].”

Gregg served up all four Padres’ runs in the ninth, including three on Kyle Banks’ walkoff homer.

“It [stunk],” Gregg said. “I wasn’t pitching. I went away from what I wanted to do and didn’t execute my pitches and it cost us the game.”

Possible candidates to take over the job include Carlos Marmol, Angel Guzman and John Grabow. It’s been a tough stretch for Gregg, who saved 61 games the last two seasons combined for the Marlins. There were the back to back blown saves in Florida, with Gregg serving up home runs in both games. On Aug. 11, he gave up a game-winning homer to the Phillies’ Ben Francisco in the 12th inning and the Cubs took the loss.

“They all end the same way with a home run ball,” Piniella said.

— Carrie Muskat

7/31 Wheeling and dealing

Lou Piniella says he wasn’t disappointed the Cubs didn’t add another player by Friday’s trade deadline. GM Jim Hendry apparently talked to a few clubs about acquiring someone who could play three, four positions, a Mark DeRosa-type player. But the Cubs wanted that someone to hit left-handed.

“Jim tried,” Piniella said. “Our ownership group would’ve okayed a deal. I’m not talking about a big salary player, but a nice productive, usable, versatile player — that’s what we were looking for more than anything else.”

Instead, the Cubs found help from the left side for the pitching staff with the deal Thursday for John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny.

“Am I disappointed? No,” Piniella said about no further transactions. “We need to continue to play and swing the bats and stay healthy. Talk about healthy, we’ve still got three key people on the disabled list. We have a starting pitcher who made the All-Star team [Ted Lilly], we have our No. 1 catcher [Geovany Soto], and our fourth outfielder [Reed Johnson]. We’re not healthy.”

— Carrie Muskat

7/31 Soto's rehab, Gorzelanny update & more

Geovany Soto will begin a rehab assignment at Double-A Tennessee on Monday in hopes of returning for the Cubs’ series next weekend in Colorado. Sidelined with a strained left oblique, Soto was to be the DH on Saturday in Mesa, Ariz., then travel on Sunday to join the Minor League team. He was to play Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The Cubs have an off day Thursday when Soto could travel to Denver.

* Newly acquired left-hander Tom Gorzelanny will join the Cubs on Saturday in Florida and throw a bullpen session. Gorzelanny is scheduled to make his debut Tuesday, starting Game 2 of the three-game series at Cincinnati. Adding Gorzelanny gives Ted Lilly a little more cushion as far as his rehab goes.

“The one thing with Ted is we don’t want to rush this situation,” Lou Piniella said of Lilly, sidelined with inflammation in his left shoulder. “We want to make sure he’s properly healed. If we have to send [Lilly] out for rehab, we can do that, too. With [Ryan] Dempster, we didn’t have that opportunity.”

* John Grabow joined the Cubs Friday, and was given No. 43. He wore No. 34 with the Pirates. The Cubs apparently didn’t want to give him No. 34, last worn by Kerry Wood.

“It gives us another lefty, and it gives us an experienced pitcher at the end of the ballgame,” Piniella said of the newest addition. “Grabow gets right-handed hitters out very well, also. He’s got a real nice changeup. It gives us another dependable, reliable pitcher with experience at the end of the ballgame and we don’t have to go to our guys three days in a row like we have had to.”

* Alfonso Soriano got Friday off, part of Piniella’s grand plan to rest his regulars. The one player he’d like to give a breather to is shortstop Ryan Theriot, who leads the team in games played with 99.

* Sam Fuld was recalled from Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs had optioned right-hander Mitch Atkins to the Minor League team after Thursday’s game.

* Piniella heard about the White Sox getting Jake Peavy. The Cubs had been in hot pursuit of the right-hander this offseason.

“That’s a nice acquisition for the White Sox,” Piniella said. “I think he’ll be ready for the stretch run for them. They’re in the pennant race and they’re a couple games out of first place. It’s good to have that guy added to your arsenal toward the tail end of the baseball season.”

What if Peavy is ready on Sept. 3 when the Cubs and White Sox play a makeup Interleague game?

“Let’s not look that far ahead,” Piniella said.

— Carrie Muskat

7/30 Marshall law & more

Sean Marshall pitched another perfect inning on Thursday in the Cubs’ 12-3 win over the Astros, and extended his scoreless innings streak at home to 13 innings over 15 games. But he’s probably the happiest player on the flight to Florida because he’s getting some relief. With the addition of John Grabow, the Cubs added a veteran lefty who can handle late inning duties.

“It gives us options as a lefty, and a pretty good one,” Kevin Gregg said of Grabow. “He’s been around, he knows how to pitch late in games with the game on the line. It’ll be good for Sean to be able to take a breather every now and then. It seems like he’s been pitching every day. It’ll be nice to use each other to get some rest.”

Gregg has helped Marshall learn how to warm up in the bullpen. Relievers don’t need as many pitches as starters do.

“It’s a common mistake,” Gregg said of warm up routines. “I think when you first start in the bullpen, you don’t realize what it takes to get ready, especially for him. It’s a new aspect for him. A starter throws 30 or 40 pitches warming up. Some of us can throw 10 pitches before they get in a game.

“He’s taken to it well, and he gets ready real quick, if you watch him,” Gregg said.

Hart did the Cubs’ bullpen a favor by going six innings on Thursday.

“What he did today for us was that it put us all fresh,” Gregg said. “We’re all ready, we’re all 100 percent. We’re 100 percent in the bullpen now and to go on a road trip, that’s nice.”

* B.J. Ryan was to make his second Minor League outing on Thursday night for Triple-A Iowa. Ryan threw 11 pitches in one inning on Tuesday, and the radar guns registered 86-87 mph on his fastball.

“It’s way too early to tell when or if he’ll be ready to help us in the near future,” Cubs GM Jim Hendry said.

* No word yet on who will replace Hart in the rotation. The Cubs will need a starter on Tuesday in Cincinnati. Tom Gorzelanny, acquired in the five-player deal, could get the call. He last pitched on Monday for Triple-A Indianapolis, and gave up two runs on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings.

* Mitch Atkins was optioned to Iowa after Thursday’s game. No corresponding move was made, but outfielder Sam Fuld was on the team charter to Florida and was expected to be activated before Friday’s game against the Marlins.

— Carrie Muskat

7/30 Cubs talking to Pirates

The Cubs and Pirates are discussing a possible deal that would send lefty reliever John Grabow to Chicago. The Cubs have just one lefty in the pen in Sean Marshall, and have been looking for help. Grabow is 3-0 with 16 holds in 45 games, and has 41 strikeouts in 47 1/3 innings. Right-handed hitters are batting .234 against him.

Numerous reports say the discussions have increased. The Cubs also are believed to be talking to the Pirates about lefty Tom Gorzelanny, who is 4-3 with a 2.48 ERA in 15 starts at Triple-A Indianapolis. In his last start Monday, Gorzelanny gave up two runs on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings.

GM Jim Hendry said prior to Thursday’s game that the number of calls he’s received from teams has intensified since Wednesday night.

— Carrie Muskat