Results tagged ‘ Sean Marshall ’

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

7/30 Rebuild? Retool? Reboot?

Are the Cubs in rebuilding mode? Yes and no.

“There are certain people who won’t be back and there are a whole lot of people we should be happy with — young players, two kids in the middle,” GM Jim Hendry said Friday. “We’re hoping [Tyler] Colvin gets back to where he was. Marlon [Byrd’s] been a fine player here and he has another year on his contract.

“You have a bullpen of a lot of guys coming back who are very good,” he said. “Everybody should be encouraged by the year Jeff Samardzija has had and where he’s going and the year James Russell has had since moving back into the bullpen. Sean Marshall will be here, [Carlos] Marmol will be here.

“You always need some kind of rebuilding when you’re in fifth place but you certainly don’t look at it like, ‘Oh, we’re not going to compete.’ When somebody says, ‘Blow the place up and start over and do it right,’ well, OK, does that mean we should get rid of the people who are really young and real good? I’ve said this a hundred times, wasn’t Pittsburgh 20 games under a year ago, and Cleveland? All you need is for your young people to get better and make the right moves, and why couldn’t we be right back in it?”

The Cubs did fall to 22 games under .500 after Friday’s 9-2 loss to the Cardinals.

“We’re having a bad year, and there’s no way around it, no excuses for it,” Hendry said. “Nobody picked us to be in the first three this year but we felt by now, we’d be at .500. [If we were .500] a week ago, it would’ve got you two or three back. We didn’t do our part. Excuses or no excuses, injuries or not injuries, we haven’t played to the level we should have.”

At the start of this road trip vs. NL Central teams, Mike Quade said he felt the Cubs still had a chance to get back in the race.

“I respect his optimism,” Hendry said. “There are a lot of teams above you. You don’t want Mike hanging his head and saying, ‘We can’t do something, we can’t do this.’ I’m sure in his heart he believes we can have a good couple months like he had last year at the end and hopefully we will. You’ve got a lot of people in front of you [in the standings] and you’re a lot of games behind. I wouldn’t want him to say, ‘Hey, we’re all done and let’s get the guys ready for next year.'”

— Carrie Muskat

7/19 Extra bases

Mike Quade talked Tuesday to Joe Torre, Major League Baseball’s vice president of baseball operations, regarding the umpires’ performance in the Cubs’ series against the Marlins. Quade was critical of umpire Lance Barrett after he called pinch-runner Brett Hayes safe after a pickoff attempt in the Marlins eighth on Sunday. Quade felt shortstop Starlin Castro’s tag was in time, and the replay appeared to support the Cubs. Quade, who has been ejected three times this season, did not go on the field and argue the call.

Did Quade expect to be penalized after his chat with Torre?

“I’ll wait and see,” Quade said. “I don’t know. The one thing that’s great about having Joe  [in that job], he’s handling that situation and he’s been on both sides of this and he gives you an opportunity to explain and it’s not just cut and dry. We’ll see where it goes. We had a long discussion and a good discussion.”rotation in line?

* Quade and pitching coach Mark Riggins planned to sit down and discuss the rotation with two off days coming up. The Cubs have Thursday and Monday off.

* Alfonso Soriano has heard the rumors. It’s July, close to the trading deadline, and his name has been mentioned before.

“I don’t worry,” he said. “I don’t have control of that situation.”

Soriano, 35, would be an expensive addition for a team. His contract with the Cubs runs through 2014, and he is owed $18 million each year. He does have a full no-trade clause and is closing in on 10-and-5 status, but said he would not get in the way if the Cubs approached him about a possible deal.

* It’s Tuesday. Do you know who the Cubs closer is? As of now, the decision will be day to day. It could be Carlos Marmol, who pitched Monday after two days off to work on his mechanics, or lefty Sean Marshall. Marmol did pitch the ninth and walked two, but also struck out two, the first time he’s fanned a batter since July 3.

“We’ll see,” Quade said before Tuesday’s game. “[The Phillies] only have 10 left-handed hitters in the lineup, too.”

— Carrie Muskat

7/15 Marmol no longer closer

Carlos Marmol did get a chance to save Friday’s game, but couldn’t get the final out. Now, he’s sidelined to get a chance to work on his mechanics in hopes of regaining his slider. Mike Quade said the right-hander has lost his job as the closer for now.

“Hopefully when I get back, I’ll be the old Marmol,” Marmol said.

Quade met with Marmol, pitching coach Mark Riggins and others, including pitchers Kerry Wood and Sean Marshall, before Friday’s game against the Marlins, which the Cubs won, 2-1. Quade wanted to make sure Wood and Marshall were prepared to close if needed. The switch was prompted by Thursday’s outing when Marmol failed to retire a batter in the ninth, walking four and giving up a hit. All five baserunners scored in Florida’s 6-3 come from behind win.

Marmol asked Quade for a chance to pitch Friday and said he felt better on the mound.

“I appreciate what he did,” Marmol said. “It’s tough. I’ve got to keep working and hopefully I can get better.”

He’ll get that chance in the next few days.

“Relievers just don’t have the side time and the time to work on stuff that starters do,” Quade said. “You almost have to say you’re going to give him a couple of days.”

— Carrie Muskat

7/14 Marmol still Cubs closer

Carlos Marmol couldn’t get his control of his slider Thursday night in the ninth against the Marlins, and it showed. The Cubs closer walked four and gave up one hit and all five runners scored in a six-run ninth as the Marlins posted a 6-3 come from behind win.

“That was pretty bad,” Mike Quade said. “That was as bad as I’ve seen him. Still, you feel he has a chance to pull it together but not tonight.

“We’ve got to find a way to finish a game like that,” he said. “Marm’s the guy, and has been the guy and needs to be the guy. He’ll be better.”

What happened?

“I couldn’t throw strikes,” said Marmol, who threw 25 pitches, seven for strikes. “When you don’t throw strikes, you don’t get people out.”

He didn’t use the All-Star break as an excuse.

“I don’t make excuses,” Marmol said. “I couldn’t throw strikes.”

This is the first time Marmol has walked four batters in an outing since July 17, 2010, vs. the Phillies. The five runs are the most off him since he gave up six May 31 against the Astros. It’s the sixth time he’s failed to record an out and second time this season.

Would Quade contemplate using someone else as the Cubs closer?

“Not right now,” Quade said. “You take something like this and try to figure out how to fix it. We’re not going to be any good without [Marmol, Kerry Wood and Sean Marshall]. This is not the time or place to be making all sorts of bold statements about changes. We have to figure [Marmol] out and get him right.”

— Carrie Muskat

6/11 Extra bases

The Cubs face lefty Cliff Lee on Saturday. They have a .290 batting average against lefties, second in the National League and third in the Majors. They are 8-7 against southpaw starters this year, 17-30 against right-handers.

Carlos Pena has the most at-bats among the Cubs against Lee, and is 6-for-29 (.207) with three homers. No one else on the active roster has more than eight at-bats against the lefty.

* The five-run eighth inning Friday night marked the 10th time the Cubs have scored five or more runs in an inning. The 10 innings with five or more runs are tied for the ML lead with the Red Sox.

* On Thursday, the Cubs got 8 2/3 shutout innings from the bullpen, the most since they threw nine innings to complete a 5-4, 16-inning win against the Marlins on July 12, 2002.

Sean Marshall has a 0.95 ERA in 28 relief appearances. That’s second lowest among relievers, trailing the Braves’ Jonny Venters (0.45 ERA). Marshall has struck out 30 and walked eight, and is averaging 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings.

* Darwin Barney is batting .205 in his last nine games, and is hitless in his last three (0-for-13). He’s hitting .229 on this road trip with four runs. Barney still leads all ML rookies with a .292 average, 69 hits and 32 runs scored.

* Saturday’s game is No. 9 in a stretch of 38 games in 38 days through July 10.

* On this date in Cubs history in 1952, Hank Sauer hit three home runs to lead the Cubs to a 3-2 win over the Phillies. All three came off Curt Simmons.

— Carrie Muskat

4/17 Cubs extra bases

Starlin Castro matched his career high with four hits and fell a triple shy of the cycle on Saturday night. He leads the Majors with 25 hits, and since the All-Star break last season, he ranks among the National League elite in total hits (111) and batting average (.336).

“He knows what he’s doing and this big stage doesn’t get to him at all,” Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki said of Castro. “You have guys who come up, and I was once there myself, and the game sped up on me a little bit. The first time I saw him, it didn’t seem like it sped up very much. He was very calm. … To be at the age that he’s at and to be able to slow the game down like that is very impressive.”

On this road trip, Castro is batting .395 (15-for-38) with a home run, double, four RBIs, two stolen bases and has scored six runs. In five games as the leadoff man, he’s 15-for-28 (.536) with one homer, two triples, a double, six runs and four RBIs. He now has three two-hit games, four three-hit games and one four-hit game. And it’s only April.

* Sean Marshall made his 163rd appearance on Saturday to pass Frank DiPino for eighth place for most appearances by a lefty in franchise history.

* Alfonso Soriano leads the Cubs with five home runs. Last year, he did not hit his fifth until May 2 in his 24th game of the year. The key? He’s healthy.

“Every year, my goal is to stay healthy,” Soriano said. “If I’m healthy I’ll produce more. If I can’t play 100 percent, I’m not the same player.”

knees/work with Rudy in cage
legs aren’t tired/has more power to stay back.

* Looking ahead to the series against the Padres, it will be Carlos Zambrano on Monday, James Russell on Tuesday and Matt Garza on Wednesday.

— Carrie Muskat

3/4 Cubs at Royals

Matt Garza will make his first Cactus League start today against the Royals in Surprise. Other Cubs pitchers slated to go include Kerry Wood, Jeff Samardzija, Sean Marshall, John Gaub and Alberto Cabrera. The Cubs are not using a DH so Garza can get some at-bats. It also will be Tyler Colvin’s first start at first base.

Here’s the lineup:

RF Fukudome
SS Castro
1B Colvin
C Soto
3B Moore
2B Baker
LF Reed Johnson
CF Brett Jackson
P Garza

— Carrie Muskat

2/23 Cubs on Wainwright injury

The Cubs were definitely not gloating over the news Wednesday that the Cardinals may have lost pitcher Adam Wainwright to a serious elbow injury.

“He’s on one of our rivalry
teams,” pitcher Sean Marshall said, “but I still wish him the best as a friend. You don’t wish
that on anyone for sure,
even if it is your ‘sports enemy.’ Adam’s a great guy and I wish
him well. He’s definitely
one of their staples in their rotation and a Cy Young contender
the last couple years and it
helps our team if he’s not in the rotation but you don’t wish
anything bad on

Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood has had to deal with his share of injuries.

“You feel bad for the guy and you
never want to see guys get hurt, especially top of the line guys like that,” Wood said, “but he’s not the first and he won’t be the

Said Cubs manager Mike Quade: “That’s a shame, that’s what that
is. It’s a damn shame. I don’t know what else to say. I watched him come through the system. … You want to win and
compete and all the rest of it, but you don’t like seeing anybody get hurt, that’s for darn
sure. He’s meant a lot to them. That will be a tough one [to

It’s been a tough camp for the Cardinals with all the talk about Albert Pujols’ contract and now this.

“I’ve always said that as long as [Tony La Russa] is running the club and they
have the people they have,it’s a great franchise and they always have the ability to get
better and add on and I fully expect them to be right in the thick of it no matter what,” GM Jim Hendry said.


— Carrie Muskat

1/14 Geovany Soto signs

Cubs catcher Geovany Soto avoided arbitration and signed a one-year, $3 million deal Friday night. Soto batted .280 last season with 17 homers and 53 RBIs in 105 games. The 2008 National League Rookie of the Year, Soto struggled in ’09 and batted .218. The Cubs now have avoided arbitration with Soto, Jeff Baker and Koyie Hill. The arbitration eligible players remaining include Sean Marshall, Carlos Marmol, Matt Garza and Tom Gorzelanny.

— Carrie Muskat