Cubs Suffer Two Tough Blows

The Cubs followed Saturday night's disappointing loss with one of the agonizing variety on Sunday afternoon. The blown saves by Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol also lowered the Cubs' save conversion rate to 14 saves in 22 opportunities, or an unimpressive 64%. (Marmol's "failure," of course, was due primarily to Alfonso Soriano's work in left field, not a failing of the pitcher's.)

Before Sunday's disaster, here is how the Cubs and their designated closer stacked up to the rest of the National League and the respective teams' individual saves leaders, several of whom have already lost their "closer" tags because of ineffectiveness or injury.

  Team SV/OPS SV%
SVs Leader
1. CIN 10/12 .833   Cordero 10/11 .909
2. HOU 17/21 .810   Valverde 15/18 .833
3. LA 9/12 .750   Saito 8/10 .800
3. FLA 9/12 .750   Gregg 10/11 .909
5. SF 14/19 .737   Wilson 14/16 .875
6 ATL 8/11 .727   Acosta 3/3 1.000
7. PIT 10/14 .714   Capps 10/10 1.000
8. PHI 14/20 .700   Lidge 12/12 1.000
9. CUBS 14/21 .667 Wood 10/14
9. AZ 14/21 .667   Lyon 12/14 .857
11. MILW 16/25 .640   Gagne 10/15 .667
12. NY 9/15 .600   Wagner 9/11 .818
13. STL 17/29 .586   Isringhausen 11/17 .647
14. COL 11/20 .550   Fuentes 6/9 .667
15. WAS 10/19 .526   Rauch 10/12 .833
16. SD 9/19 .474   Hoffman 9/11 .818

Can a team win a National League pennant and convert just two-thirds of its save opps, with a closer who can only be counted on in roughly 7 of every 10 opportunities? Very recent history says yes and maybe.

Year Team
SV% SVs Leader
2007 COL 39/68 .574   Fuentes 20/27 .741
2006 STL 38/57 .667   Isringhausen 33/43 .767
2005 HOU 45/58 .776   Lidge 42/46 .913
2004 STL 57/73 .781   Isringhausen 47/54 .870
2003 FLA 36/50 .720   Looper 28/34 .824
2002 SF 43/60 .717   Nen 43/51 .843


Pitching for last year's NL champs, Fuentes converted 20 of his first 22 save opportunities before he faltered at mid-season, blew four save chances in a row, and handed over the closer's job to Manny Corpas, who finished the season with 19 saves in 22 opportunities and a 2.08 ERA.

The '06 Cardinals' .667 save percentage is the same as the Cubs' was heading into play on Sunday. That placed the Cards seventh in the NL, just above the Cubs' ninth place standing so far this year. The '06 Cards, however, had the benefit of playing in an NL Central so destitute, 83 victories was enough to land them in the post-season.

It wouldn't appear that the 2008 Cubs wil find the going quite as easy.





the NL central and west leaders are all on the bottom 1/2 of the chart. heh...

for arz/chc/stl it's really been about the total contribution from the pen rather than the guy at the end for the most part...though lyon's been excellent.

mlb sortable stats has Cubs at 14/22 now.

after Wood 10/14, Marmol 2/3, Howry 1/1, Wuertz 0/2, Lieber 0/1 and Marshall 1/1.

That in itself is unusual considering Wood has been in the closer role all season (ie. not removed from the role due to injury or ineffectiveness) so the Cubs seem to have alot of save situations spread out amongst the most non-closers (5). Probably has something to do with all the extra inning road games.

other corrections...

fla 10/13, la 9/13, hou 17/22, cin 10/15, sf 14/20, wash 10/20, padres 9/20

detail shows:

Marlins Greg has 10/11 saves but you list FLA as 9/12, it should be 10/13, Tankersly 0/2.

Reds after Cordero, Burton, Weathers and Bray all 0/1.

Dodgers after Saito shows Broxton 0/2, Park 1/1

Astros after Valverde shows Brocail 2/2, Borkowski 0/1, Nieve 0/1

Giants after Wilson shows Walker 0/2, Chulk 0/1, Hennessey 0/1

Nats after Rauch shows Rivera 0/3, Ayala 0/2, Colome 0/1, O'Connor 0/1, King 0/1

Padres after Hoffman shows Meredith 0/3, Bell 0/2, Thatcher 0/2, Corey 0/1, E Gonzalez 0/1

and for central division completeness...

Stl (17/29), after Izzy (11/17) shows Franklin 3/5, McClellan 1/2, Flores 1/3, Reyes 1/1, Villone 0/1.

Pitt (10/14), after Capps (10/10) shows Yates 0/3, Grabow 0/1

Brewers (16/25), after Gagne (10/15) shows Torres 2/4, Mota 1/2, Shouse 1/2, Turnbow 1/1, Riske 1/1

Cubster, I'm thinking all the discrepancies you found reflect games through Sunday. My numbers were through Saturday.

The Cubs seem to be in a good position to win their division, but they need to improve to advance in the playoffs.

At the start of the season, I thought the Brewers and Reds would be the Cubs’ main division rivals. The Brewers have had too many injuries to pitchers and the Reds haven’t used their young talent, like Jay Bruce. The Brewers and Reds are 6 to 6.5 games off the division pace.

Houston is only one game back in the division, but I attribute that to the remarkable performance this month from Lance Berkman. When Berkman returns to his norm, the Astros holes at third base, catcher and centerfield will be exposed.

I hope Berkman’s hot bat continues for a while. The Astros and Cardinals play each other twice in the next four series. It looks like the Cardinals will be the Cubs’ main rival in the division.

In order for the Cubs to advance in the playoffs, they will need a solution in centerfield in addition to better performance from their closer. I don’t see evidence that Jim Edmonds is going to hit. Reed Johnson would be satisfactory as the right-handed part of a platoon.

I am surprised that Eric Patterson hasn’t made occasional appearances in centerfield at Iowa. Patterson is beginning to hit. I think Patterson is one option that should be contemplated if Edmonds cannot hit.

although the Cub braintrust won't consider it right now the train moving down the tracks for the 2008 season sure looks like the step if/when Edmonds is considered a failed experiment will be a Reed Johnson/Fukudome platoon in center with some combo of Fukudome/DeRosa/Hoffpauir in right...and that has all the markings of a Hollandsworth/DuBois platoon. Maybe it'll be different this time but if/when Hoffpauir becomes a failed experiment after that, it's waiver wire or a trade from one of the teams that have blown up their season by the end of June (ie. Detroit, Seattle, SF, SD). From those rosters, Randy Winn and David DeJesus are the only ones that seem possible targets to me. It really sucks being one OF short of success.

Maybe we'll get a bit luckier this time, but I'm tired of these Matt Lawton, Ben Grieve experiments...of which Edmonds is the latest variation.

sure would be nice if we still had Matt Murton in the organization.

I tried to stay positive on Edmonds, but seriously, I don't know what Cub management was expecting.

Jim Edmonds was a roll of the dice that is fast turning into a roll in the mud.

While definitely true, I would have been upset if Jimbo didn't at least give him a shot. Edmonds has been around for quite awhile, has played on some winning teams in StL, and crushed the Cubs at Wrigley I believe (stats anyone?).

Not to mention, they basically got him for free.

And is it only me, or is Pie starting to rhyme with Patterson?.....

For his career Edmonds has hit: .270 .394 .554 against the Cubs and .253 .376 .535 in Wrigely Field.

I was hoping the Cubs might have signed Randy Winn during the off season, but they were putting all their eggs in Pie.

It would be nice...

how were they going to sign him?

Geremi Gonzalez was killed by lightning yesterday.

RIP Jeremi or Geremi...

did enjoy his brief Cub career. 

I remember him having some good stuff but he got hurt.


Recent comments

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  • ...i hate espn.

    nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.

    oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.

    crunch 7 min 2 sec ago view
  • I'm liking this rookie Nathan.

    CTSteve 7 min 47 sec ago view
  • Richard DFA'd. Meh...

    The E-Man 2 hours 58 min ago view
  • Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.

    Charlie 5 hours 31 min ago view
  • The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.

    chitownmvp01 6 hours 4 min ago view
  • If the ball didn't deflect off the pitcher's mound, the game wouldn't have ended. Montgomery did miss his location though, but if that same contact was made and went in any of direction, good chance of ground out if it doesn't get through.

    If it was 1 night later, Chapman would be out there and we probably would be going to extras.

    Also, If KB wasn't robbed of a HR, perhaps we would have won. We will never know. Nice play by Melky though.

    chitownmvp01 6 hours 5 min ago view
  • The comparison isn't Chapman replacing Rondon. It's Chapman replacing Richard (hopefully) in the pen. Chapman's better.

    billybucks 8 hours 2 min ago view
  • I'm with you, Rob. You pretty much summed up how I feel about it.

    JoePepitone 10 hours 22 min ago view
  • Been quite the roller-coaster the past two days -- both games, plus the Chapman kerfuffel. How about a couple of nice, comfortable wins before facing Sale? Cubs should definitely wear throwbacks for that game.

    billybucks 11 hours 18 min ago view
  • The Cubs are stronger defensively than most of the teams they play. In order to capitalize on that, they have to a) put the ball in play and b) run the bases aggressively.

    That said, Cabrera has a strong, accurate arm, as witnessed by his 97 outfield assists over 12 seasons--mostly left field but also a lot of center. Bryant is rarely thrown out, but I guess you have to know who's throwing the ball.

    VirginiaPhil 12 hours 11 min ago view
  • On the other hand, Pries won his first start for Iowa, only giving up two HRs in the process. This trade has got some legs yet!

    Eric S 21 hours 19 min ago view
  • KB now with 0 RBI in his last 10 games and 1 in his last 15, despite having 19 hits in his last 15 games and raising his batting average from .278 to .286 over that span.

    Maybe have Zobrist hit 2 and KB hit 4?

    Also -- no HR in the last 15 games -- time for a bunch. Starting tomorrow.

    billybucks 21 hours 35 min ago view
  • Down a run. Fowler on first. Nobody out. KB singles to left, Fowler makes it to third, perfect throw from Cabrera nails KB trying to stretch for 2nd.

    So, instead of 1st & 3rd and no out, you have 3rd with one out. It was a perfect throw, but why take the chance with 3-4-5 hitters coming up?

    billybucks 21 hours 49 min ago view
  • Must be a Cub thing - our lefties can;t get lefties out.

    billybucks 21 hours 50 min ago view
  • Splitting hairs, but Jake's pitch was poor execution, while KB's play was a poor decision (and the 2nd time he got thrown out trying to stretch in the game). Poor execution happens. Poor decisions are preventable. Speaking of poor decisions -- Baez's steal of 3rd made absolutely no sense.

    billybucks 21 hours 51 min ago view
  • Didn't Jake cost them the game with a pitch to Frazier?

    The E-Man 22 hours 4 min ago view