Results tagged ‘ Mark Grace ’

5/9 Cubs Inbox

As we celebrate the anniversary of the last cycle by a Cubs batter (Mark Grace, May 9, 1993, vs. the Padres), it’s time for a Cubs Inbox. Have a question? Send it to: CubsInbox@gmail.com. Here goes.

Q: Who leads Major League Baseball in blown saves since 2008 — individual and by team — and where do the Cubs and Carlos Marmol rank? I know it’s not a friendly stat but I am curious. — Steve T., Phoenix, AZ

A: Here you go:

Most blown saves: 2008-13

1. Heath Bell, Jonathan Broxton, Chad Qualls, 30 each
4. Kevin Gregg, 29
5. J.J. Putz, 27
6. Carlos Marmol, 26
7. Juan Carlos Oviedo, 24
8. Rafael Betancourt, Tyler Clippard and Jonathan Papelbon, 23 each
12. Jon Rauch and Fernando Rodney, 22 each

Most blown saves, teams 2008-2013
1. Brewers, 123 blown saves
2. Nationals, 121
3. Orioles, 119
4. Marlins, 117
5. Rockies and Mets, 113
7. Mariners, 112
8. Angels, 111
9. Cubs and Cardinals, 110

This season, the Diamondbacks have two pitchers who lead MLB in blown saves: J.J. Putz (4) and David Hernandez (3). The Cubs’ Shawn Camp and Carlos Marmol both have two blown saves. Here are the individual leaders since ’08:

2012: John Axford, Brewers, 9 blown saves (Marmol 3)
2011: Marmol, 10 (tied with Angels’ Jordan Walden, 10)
2010: Tyler Clippard, Nationals, 10 (Marmol 5)
2009: Brad Lidge, Phillies, 11 (Marmol 4)
2008: Manuel Corpas, Rockies, and Kevin Gregg, Marlins, 9 each (Marmol 2)

2012: Brewers, 29 blown saves (Cubs 21 blown saves)
2011: Nationals, 27 blown saves (Cubs 24)
2010: Orioles, 27 blown saves (Cubs 14)
2009: Mariners, 28 blown saves (Cubs 18)
2008: Mariners, 31 blown saves (Cubs 24)

Q: Carlos Marmol had all spring to get it together. I say, release him, and bring up Chris Rusin. What say you? — Louis M., San Marcos, CA

A: Marmol went through the same rough start last year. The difference this season is that Dale Sveum acted sooner. Since the May 4 game against the Reds, Marmol has made two appearances, given up two hits and walked one over 2 1/3 innings, and has not allowed a run. It seems he needs to hit rock bottom. Last season, Marmol was able to get back on track after the All-Star break, posting a 1.52 ERA in 30 games, and going 12-for-13 in save situations. Marmol has to realize he’s not unhittable.

“He thinks that guys are going to swing at every pitch out of his hand, and he tries to make every pitch a two-strike pitch and that’s part of the problem,” pitching coach Chris Bosio said of the right-hander. “He tries to bury the pitch and overthrow the pitch. He needs to back off. A lot of times, doing too much can be a deterrent. You’re not relaxed, you’re not getting the spin on the ball, you’re not working over the top of the ball, you’re working under the ball. Get him to relax and get him to where he was the second half of last year. That’s where we all want him to be and that’s where he wants to be.”

This is the last year of Marmol’s three-year contract, and he is being paid $9.8 million. It’s too early in the year to just dump him. He’s one of the seven pitchers in the Cubs’ bullpen, and Bosio and Sveum have to figure out a way for him to contribute.

As for Rusin, I’d keep him at Triple-A Iowa and let him develop as a starter. He has a bright future.

Q: I’m wondering why Scott Hairston is not being considered an every day outfielder after hitting 20 home runs last year? How many at-bats is he projected to get this year? — Anthon S., Seattle

A: I can’t give you a number for how many at-bats Hairston will get this year but do know he hasn’t done enough to warrant every day status. Hairston batted .172 (10-for-58) this spring, and he’s batting .132 (5-for-38) so far. Plus, he’s been used in a platoon against left-handed pitchers, and is 3-for-30 and all three hits have been home runs.

Q: After this year, what will happen to Fitch Park and HoHoKam Stadium in Mesa? Do the Cubs own either facility? Would any other Major League team be interested in coming in and rehabbing the facilities? — Don W., Simpsonville, SC

A: The Athletics will be moving into HoHoKam and Fitch after signing a 20-year lease with the city. However, there won’t be spring games scheduled there for 2014. The A’s have plans to do some remodeling at HoHoKam, including widening the seats, installing a video scoreboard and updating the clubhouse. The Cubs have to remove all of their stuff from the two facilities at the end of this year.

Q: I just wanted to say, three years ago, I got a 4×4 Cubs alternate jersey logo tattooed over my heart. I cannot wait to put “World Champions” over it when we win it all. — Chuck L., Janesville, WI

A: I’m sure the Cubs appreciate the support but I think I would’ve gone with “Mom” instead.

5/17 Cubs vs. White Sox

Interleague play and bragging rights in the city are on the line Friday when the Cubs start their home-road, six-game series against the White Sox at Wrigley Field.

* Pitching matchups:

Friday: Philip Humber (1-2, 5.77 ERA) vs. Jeff Samardzija (4-1, 2.89 ERA)

Saturday: John Danks (2-4, 6.46 ERA) vs. Ryan Dempster (0-1, 1.74 ERA)

Sunday: Jake Peavy (4-1, 2.65 ERA) vs. Paul Maholm (4-2, 4.35 ERA)

* Cubs record vs. White Sox: 39-45

At Wrigley Field: 22-20

At Comiskey Park/U.S. Cellular Field: 17-25

Last Cubs three-game sweep: June 20-22, 2008, at Wrigley Field

* Crosstown series batting leaders (minimum 60 at-bats):

Average: Mark Grace, .350

Hits: Sammy Sosa, 45

Home runs: Aramis Ramirez, 13

RBIs: Sosa, 39

Pitching leaders (minimum 25 innings pitched)

ERA: Mark Prior, 2.88

Wins: Carlos Zambrano, six

Saves: Ryan Dempster, Bob Howry & Carlos Marmol, three each

Strikeouts: Zambrano, 71

* A total of 168 players have appeared in at least one Major League game for both the Cubs and White Sox, from David Aardsma to Dutch Zwilling.

* The two teams have made 22 trades, the last coming Nov. 16, 2006, when Neal Cotts was acquired from the White Sox in exchange for David Aardsma and Carlos Vasquez

* Sixteen players have seen action for both the Cubs and White Sox in the same season, the last being Josh Paul in 2003

* Steve Renko (1977) and Matt Karchner (1998) recorded victories for both teams in the same season. No player has homered for both teams in the same year.

* The only person to ever manage both teams was Johnny Evers, who skippered the Cubs in 1913 and 1921, and the White Sox in 1924

* White Sox manager Robin Ventura has a .286 average in three games, going 4-for-14

– Carrie Muskat

9/23 A walk in the park

Carlos Pena drew two walks Friday, and now has 96 for the season, a modern day record for Cubs’ first basemen. The old mark was 95, set by Mark Grace in 2000. Since 2001, only Sammy Sosa has more walks in a single-season for the cubs. He drew 116 walks in 2001 and 103 in 2002.

– Carrie Muskat

1/12 Cubs radio update

The Cubs and WGN Radio will not announce Ron Santo’s replacement as color analyst at the weekend Cubs Convention. Interviews are currently being conducted and an announcement was expected sometime before Spring Training games begin.

Santo died Dec. 3 at the age of 70. The Cubs will celebrate him during the Convention in a seminar called “Remembering Ronnie,” to be held Saturday at the Hilton Chicago. Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Fergie Jenkins plus Glenn Beckert, Randy Hundley, Milt Pappas and Jose Cardenal will share some of stories about their teammate.

Who will take over for Santo? It most likely will not be Mark Grace or Rick Sutcliffe, two fan favorites. Grace is currently an analyst for the Diamondbacks and does work for FOX TV, while Sutcliffe signed a new contract with ESPN. The Cubs and WGN Radio are looking for a former Cubs player to do the job, but they want someone who can commit to the full 162-game schedule.

– Carrie Muskat 

4/27 Sing along

On Tuesday night, new Bears running back Chester Taylor will lead the crowd at Wrigley in the seventh inning stretch. Bears players Robbie Gould, Brad Maynard and Pat Mannelly will do the honors on Wednesday.

Hall of Fame pitcher Fergie Jenkins will sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” on Thursday and actor Tracy Morgan will do so Friday. Chicago native Vince Vaughn will do so Saturday and former Cubs first baseman Mark Grace will sing on Sunday.

– Carrie Muskat

4/21 Soriano's near miss

Alfonso Soriano leads the Cubs with six doubles but couldn’t come up with one when he needed in the eighth inning Wednesday. Soriano hit a two-run homer, a triple and added a RBI single in the Cubs’ game against the New York Mets.

On Monday, Soriano was called into manager Lou Piniella’s office and lectured about not running balls out. In the fourth, Soriano legged out a triple to lead off and scored on Geovany Soto’s single. Soto, however, was thrown out at second trying to stretch his hit. It was Soriano’s first triple since Aug. 19, 2009, at San Diego.

Soriano added a two-out RBI single in the fifth, driving in Marlon Byrd, who had doubled. Byrd walked to lead off the seventh and one out later, Soriano hit his second homer.

Mark Grace was the last Cubs player to hit for the cycle, doing so May 9, 1993, against San Diego. But Soriano flew out to right in his last at-bat in the eighth. He was lifted in a defensive switch after the eighth. Eleven Cubs have accomplished the feat, including Andre Dawson on April 29, 1987, against San Francisco, and Ivan DeJesus on April 22, 1980.

– Carrie Muskat

1/14/10 Mark Grace checks in

Former Cubs first baseman Mark Grace says Mark McGwire wasn’t the only player taking steroids, but didn’t name names, including his former teammate Sammy Sosa.

In an interview on the Dan Patrick radio show, Grace said: “At the time, there was no drug testing for that kind of stuff. You knew it, but it was just common knowledge and you didn’t think twice about it. Mark [McGwire] wasn’t the only guy. Trust me.”

Why didn’t Grace take any PEDs?

“I like my sex life,” Grace said. “I want to be able to perform. It’s kind of funny, but it’s not. That stuff will tear you up as far as your manhood is concerned.”

He doesn’t accept McGwire’s comment that steroids didn’t help him hit home runs.

“That’s a baloney cop-out,” Grace said.

– Carrie Muskat

June swoon

Derrek Lee leads the Cubs with 39 RBIs heading into July. The last time the Cubs did not have a player with at least 40 RBIs by the end of June was 1989. Ryne Sandberg was the Cubs RBI leader that year at the end of June with 33. He finished the season with 76. Mark Grace led the Cubs in ’89 with 79 RBIs. He and Andre Dawson each had 27 by the end of June. Both were on the disabled list in the first half and missed time. Thanks to Ed Hartig for the info.

On a positive note, the ’89 Cubs won the NL East by six games.

– Carrie Muskat


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