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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  • Phil, any updates on eight Oscar de la Cruz or Luis Hernandez?

    azbobbop 56 min 6 sec ago view
  • One miscommunication in outfield and the Cubs would have another no hitter

    jacos 2 hours 7 min ago view
  • Bruce Levine [email protected]

    Sex Fowler out with sore heel

    Pretty epic nickname

    johann 2 hours 39 min ago view
  • Mike Olt lives!

    The E-Man 3 hours 13 min ago view
  • Screw the closer.

    Old and Blue 5 hours 4 min ago view
  • He's had so few save opportunities that it might be difficult for him to get the All Star nod but Rondon has an absolutely ridiculous 1.05 ERA and 1.06 FIP after this game so far (and I think his worst outing was in the 10th inning non save situation) so I do absolutely think he is worth considering.

    johann 5 hours 8 min ago view
  • wood(4)/grimm/strop/rondon combine for 7ip 0h 0bb 8K


    crunch 5 hours 22 min ago view
  • 3ip 0h 0bb 3k for t.wood...nice.

    28 pitches.

    wonder if they'll let him go another.

    4ip 0h 0bb 4k...and probably done f'real this time. 43 pitches and in line for the win.

    crunch 6 hours 10 min ago view
  • And stay off the keyboard too

    Eric S 6 hours 19 min ago view
  • Depends how long he'd be gone but if not too long I would assume they'll use Wood or Cahill and limit them to 4 or 5 innings and call up a reliever to use in the bullpen.

    johann 6 hours 37 min ago view
  • hopefully it's a carlos-zambrano-special and he just needs to drink more water and less coffee+redbull before starts.

    crunch 6 hours 43 min ago view
  • Assuming Hammel needs some DL time for the hammy, who do the Cubs call up: Glasnow or Taillon? Too many starting pitching prospects at Iowa to choose from.

    Eric S 6 hours 46 min ago view
  • "cramping in right hamstring" according to the booth.

    btw, it was his left hamstring that was injured last year.

    crunch 6 hours 47 min ago view
  • hammel is injured and done..."leg cramp" or some other leg issue...was down behind the mound coming back from commercial and seemed to have injured himself warming up on the mound between innings.

    crunch 7 hours 9 min ago view
  • heyward with a bit of starlin castro're great D dude, but you can't range 200ft in all directions even if you're playing CF.

    that said, he almost had it...though zobrist or baez should have had it if heyward wasn't coming on at 100mph.

    hammel is quite wild today even if he got the first 2 outs on Ks that were result of swinging through stuff not in the zone.

    crunch 7 hours 53 min ago view
  • she did fine, fwiw.

    bombs were bursting in the air...ramparts were watched...all that stuff.

    zoobrest kissed her afterwards and got about 20lbs of the 100lbs of makeup she was wearing on him.

    crunch 8 hours 5 min ago view