Game 103 Thread / Marlins @ Cubs (2 of 4)

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SP Josh Johnson SP Ryan Dempster
  0-0, 3.86, 10 K, 3 BB, 11.2 IP
11-4, 3.05, 111 K, 51 BB, 132.2 IP
       
SS Hanley Ramirez LF Alfonso Soriano
RF *Luis Gonzalez SS Ryan Theriot
3B Jorge Cantu 1B Derrek Lee
1B *Mike Jacobs 3B Aramis Ramirez
2B Dan Uggla RF *Kosuke Fukudome
LF Josh Willingham C Geovany Soto
CF Cody Ross 2B *Mike Fontenot
C Paul Hoover CF Reed Johnson
P *Josh Johnson P Ryan Dempster

 

With Jeff Samardzija (last name = 29 Scrabble points) in a Major League uniform for the first time and the Brewers so close you can smell the Miller High Life and cannibal sandwiches on their breaths, the Cubs go for a second win in a row against the Fightin' Fish.

Kosuke Fukudome returns to the starting lineup, as does Mike Fontenot, who has gone 14-for-41 (.341) with four homers and a 1260 OPS since the first of July.

Ryan Dempster, who was beaten at home for the first time this year when he lost to the Giants on the Sunday before the All-Star break, comes off a sterling outing at Houston, in which he threw eight shutout innings while fanning seven, walking one, and allowing just six hits.

Josh Johnson makes his third start of the year for Florida as he recovers from elbow surgery this past March. The six-foot-seven-inch righthander throws a mid-90's fastball, a slider and change-up, though often not where he means to throw them. (In 185 Major League innings pitched dating back to '05, Johnson has allowed nearly 4.5 walks for every 9 IP.)

Just thought of this: on Monday, the Cubs faced six-foot-ten-inch Randy Johnson of Arizona. Today they get 6-7 Josh Johnson of the Marlins. That means this week alone, the Cubs have encountered more than 13 feet of Johnson.

 

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Comments

That means this week alone, the Cubs have encountered more than 13 feet of Johnson.

nice.

I thought Edmonds was healthy and I thought Fukudome was suppose to stay in the 2 spot? Although I guess if Edmonds is sitting, Lou likes that lefty in the 5 spot.

What ever happened to the notion of resting Lee every once in awhile? Seems like, if there is anyone who might be due for a rest, it is him...

I'm sure he'll get one soon enough, he was having a very good July until that last road trip and still has an .850 OPS for the month.  Plus he had 4 days off recently. Maybe Ramirez is who you're thinking of...

117 OPS over the last 7 days and 630 in July

Lee has gone 5-29, 1 BB, 6 K since the all-star break. He is slumping, and has played in 101 games already. He might benefit from a day off. Ramirez, too, but he hasn't played nearly as much as Lee. I am just remembering how Lou said that he would make sure that Lee sits every once in awhile... He pretty much hasn't sat at all...

Seriously... he just sat for four days.

I am not sure why he needs a rest. Sometimes you just need to let your players, especially your stars, play through slumps.

Jace,

They have this thing called the All-Star break.

Cubnut,

I don't have a Scrabble board in front of me, but I am pretty sure it's impossible to spell Samardzija (which you wouldn't be allowed to use in Scrabble anyway) without scoring more than 29 points.

Carry on.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrabble_letter_distr...

according to that it's 29, but I haven't played scrabble in ages, but I'm sure that's what Cubnut used.

You might be right on the Scrabble scoring. I assume you're thinking you'd inevitably run over double- and triple-point squares.

As for not being allowed to use the name, depends on the rules you follow. When I play with the family, the ONLY words that are allowed are the last names of Cubs players. Thank God for Dick Nen!

Well... not only would you not be able to use a proper name, it would nearly impossible to spell Samardzija being that you only get 7 letters, and you would need 3 letters to be set up on the board already.

If you had sam, or mar, already on the board you may be able to do it, but beyond that, it would get really tough.

We (my wife and I) are Scrabble hardcores and the way we play, the Official Scrabble Word List is the final ruling and I'm pretty sure Samardjiza isn't in it. Of course, being 10 letters you'd have to build on, like 'mar' or something. And either one of us would probably challenge that word, btw.

http://www.amazon.com/Official-Scrabble-Players-Di...

My wife had an epic game, once. 416, she had two 'bingos' (when you use all your tiles, you get a 50pt bonus). She also snuck the word 'ovid' in, she even defined it: "relating to the ovary". Sounded real to me. In retrospect I should have thought of "ovarian".

Ah yes, we're a real exciting bunch of folk here in northeastern Indiana.

Would one day off really make a difference?

When players are scuffling a little bit, it is pretty common to sit them down for a day and give them a mental break from the frustration, let them take a deep breath and relax. I am not only talking about sitting him down for just one day. I am also talking about Lou's supposed commitment to giving Lee a breather every once in awhile. The Cubs have played ONE game without him this season.

That Dempster -- always, with the impressions.

Today's "Carlos Marmol" is spot on.

Six walks for Demp, none for Johnson? Let's get that fixed.

"The six-foot-seven-inch righthander throws a mid-90's fastball, a slider and change-up, though often not where he means to throw them."

Through 4.5 innings"

Dempster - 6 walks
Johnson - 0

And just I finish typing that, Johnson walks The riot.

Oops, sorry about that Billybucks. You snuck your post in ahead of mine.

Man, Reed Johnson sure looks red-hot at the plate. It's a pretty stark contrast from so many of the Cubs at this point...

Talk about trial by fire for Jeff. Let's hope he brought his A game with him to Chicago today.

I guess this kills that speculation about him starting over the weekend...

That was 99 mph... and Hanley hit it...

The kid was in a tough situation, but got out of it fairly well; that pick - off throw almost reached the stands, BTW.

"Sometimes you just gotta tip your hat."

the scoreboard radar in Des Moines always clocked Samarzija @ 90-92 [once I saw a 94]; even allowing for the extra 2-3 mph the scouts @ the ballpark said their guns usually registered, JS must have some serious adrenalin pumping for the Wrigley debut if these readings so far are accurate...

Yeah, I'll bet he did. The readings did taper off a little in the 2nd inning he pitched...

Homerun Howry. A nickname AND a description.

I have an idea.

Have Howry pitch the first inning instead of the 8th or 9th.

That way, at least we have a chance to catch up.

Hey Lou-

News flash -- Howry sucks. His 5+ ERA may hav tipped you off, or the fact that virtaully every hitter scorches the ball when he throws it.

Ths is also the 4th day in the last 5 he has pitched.

What the hell?

Howry is Howrrible.

Just going by the Yahoo! feed -- was there a batter that didn't hit he ball hard in the 9th inning? Howry's good-but-not-great fastball isn't getting it done any more.

Man, the bullpen is a mess.

Ya, I agree, bullpen is a serious mess. It was masked for a while by the dominance of Wood/Marmol, but they've regressed. Gaudin isnt very good right now, and Howry hasn't been good in a long while.

After that, we're pretty much ho hum. Its really hurting us.

This very easily may be our last day in sole possession of first place :(

Gaudin isnt very good right now

Huh?

He had one bad outing. Since when is one bad outing "not very good."

looked pretty awesome though...

10 hits + 5 walks = 2 runs. Sheesh.

Had runners on 2nd and 3rd and 2 outs in the 6th, 7th and 8th, but Ward, Fukky and Soriano couldn't come through. One hit from any of those 3 probably wins the game.

Very frustrating loss.

Howry is quickly becoming a joke. He has been scored on in 6 of his last 10 appearances. Good luck with that next ocntract, Bob.

Anybody see the play where Soriano got throuwn out at the plate? Was he running OK?

seemed to be running fine, should have never been sent

hard hit ball to left that Willingham had before Soriano was even at 3b. Any decent throw was going to nail him by plenty... 

our team now looks like a wild card team

Wow... serious doom and gloom around here. The Cubs lost a game to the Marlins today. It's not like they just got swept by the Mariners...
I do think that Lou needs to back off from using Howry in nearly every ballgame, though... I wonder when he'll get that message...

What's your contingency plan for the late innings, then? I'm sure Lou's all ears, too. There's just not a right answer right now.

My point is just that Howry does not appear to be a good option. There are several other pitchers that have been more effective than him recently. Cotts, Gaudin, Marmol (though I know he has been used a lot, too). You're right that there isn't a "right" answer, but I really don't think he should be leaning on Howry, with the 5+ ERA like this. This was his 3rd-straight game... You do that with players that are hot, not ones with a 6.97 ERA this month...

On the Cincinnati news tonight, they reported Cub fans were "all over" the Dayton police about the Castillo charges/arrest due to Castillo's impending call up to the bigs.

Uh...which Cub fans are those?? And "impending call up?" Seems everybody I've read on the internets is unanimously denouncing his monumental idiot status.

I'm going to have to call shenanigans on the Channel 9 propaganda machine.

Pede

impending call-up for a kid in Lo-A ball? okay....

 

I heard we were going to call him up Monday because his beanball is so good we were going to let him use it on Braun and Fielder. In all seriousness, anyone who is sticking up for him is a moron.

Wow, don't they realize that player don't get called up from that deep in the minors? Not even close... It even rare for player to get called up from AA, let alone Low-A ball...

The problem with Lou is that he either overuses guys (Marmol/Howry) to the point of ineffectiveness or lets them rot on the bench (Wuertz/Lieber). I'm not a huge Michael Wuertz fan but in his defense I don't know how a guy is supposed to stay sharp when he only pitches once every two weeks.

Not real impressed with the way Lou handles his pitching staff.

That's just a supposition. You don't know that that Howry and Marmol are struggling due to workload.. You're just assuming. It could be a million things, the most likely of which is Howry isn't as young as he used to be and he doesn't throw 95 anymore. Marmol doesn't trust his stuff right now. He can't control his slider and his fastball's getting worked.

Please explain to me why it's the workload. I do agree that it's silly to have guys down there that never pitch, but that's not relevant to why Bob Howry can't get anybody out.

Well, with Marmol it's probably a bit of both. His struggles started after a pretty heavy work load and then it's not out of the question that some struggles led to mental struggles which led to more pitching struggles.

With Howry, I doubt it's work load but it is reasonable to say a manager who has staked part of his reputation on only playing guys who produce should be not playing guys who aren't producing and Howry is one of those guys. He's only had good month in May (which was admittedly amazing with a 1.76 ERA). Other then that, his best was a 4.50 ERA in June and that's nothing to write home about.

Relievers are very unreliable and you can't just keep using one because he used to be good. More often then not, teams do better by riding the hot hand or the young, up and comer who goes on a tear for one year. We have Gaudin, Cotts, Wood (when he comes back) and Marmol. That's a pretty good base there and better then a lot of teams. Marmol has always been wild and will always be wild but his WHIP is still lower then last year and he is still the best choice to close out games with Wood out.

Saying Lou over-relies on certain bullpen arms is a completely valid argument. Bullpen usage is probably his biggest weakness and he needs to realize quickly that Howry is a 6th-7th inning guy and a mop-up guy. We have other arms and they need a chance. Heck, Wuertz has better numbers then Howry at this point.

marmol just threw 59 pitches over 2 days (21 followed by 38).

for some reason he was actually up warming up for a little while...or tossing for some reason.

I don't disagree. But blaming his struggles on the workload alone makes no sense. Yes, he's worked a lot. I've always thought that he, in particular, had the arm to handle it. Maybe that's not the case, but he's still not showing signs of fatigue (dead/tired arm) in his delivery.

At the same time, he's thrown all of 120 career relief innings. A sudden regression should not necessarily be blamed on the amount that he worked. Perhaps it's partially because we're talking about a guy who's relieved for only a season and a half. Perhaps it's because we're talking about a guy who isn't use to making mistakes and is now making them. Perhaps we're talking about a guy who hasn't yet fought severe wildness in this role. Perhaps we're simply talking about regression. Perhaps we're talking about guys finally learning to make him throw them a fastball for a strike. You can't hit his slider, whether it's in the strike zone or not. Guys would take called thirds on his slider all the time. It's not a strike right now.

It could be one of many things, or a combination of all. Blaming it strictly on the amount of innings he's thrown is silly. Say he threw 20 or 25 innings in April/May instead of 35, is his ERA a full 5 runs lower in the last two months? I think that's incredibly unlikely. I mean, am I the only one who thinks that sounds absurd?

EDIT: Also, if he's tired after 50 innings, then he's in the wrong business. Yes, the last couple of days have been a LOT of work for him, but working 3 out of 4 days shouldn't cause him to tire over this timeframe. Over the course of 162 games, yes. Over the course of 70 or 80 games (when he started to fail), no. That's not right. Either he's got the weakest arm in the NL or something else is wrong.

Wes,

With all due respect, that makes no sense. Being overworked just means that you're not giving your body time to recover. You can become overworked in 3 days. Go to the gym and do your max bench press for 3 days in a row. See if you can do the same weight on day 3 that you did on day one. You won't be able to, because your body hasn't recovered.

The same thing applies to all endeavors in sports. Runners, football players, tennis players, everyone needs time to recover, and if you play too much of anything over a given time frame, you won't be as effective.

Back to Marmol, BP was commenting in May that he had a workload that was unheard of in today's game. He's not exactly Livan Hernandez when it comes to the amount of effort he expends either. Yes it's possible that his troulbes have nothing to do with overwork. He leads the Majors in relief pitches thrown. I don't know how much sports you have played, but when you get tired you tend to lose your coordination. Loss of coordination in for a pitcher is going to result in a loss of control, which is what we've seen from Marmol. It's not the league adjusting to him, He's throwing the same two pitches he's thrown since he became a reliever.

Some. I have played some sports. I know about recovery time. In fact, I very specifically know about the recovery time of pitchers. Three in a row is part of it. Four out of five in a week is part of it. Comes with the territory. After a season and a half in this role, I can guarantee you that his arm is conditioned for that. Maybe not for that workload over the course of a full season, but certainly for over 2 or 3 months. If we were having this discussion at the end of August about why he was beginning to have some trouble, I'd agree it was fatigue. But, I don't buy it right now.

If Carlos Marmol loses effectiveness after throwing 30 innings in two months, then there's an entirely different problem here. Yes, he's thrown a lot of pitches. Yes, he's made a lot of appearances. But, it's fucking July dude. He started sucking at the end of May. THE END OF MAY. He's not tired at the end of May. His arm isn't out of gas at the end of May. That's just not possible for a big league reliever unless he makes 45 appearances in the two months. He appeared in 29 of 51 games that this team played in April and May. Approximately half. A little more than that, but but basically half. He didn't throw 3 out of every four over that time span. Sure, he threw 3 in a row occasionally, and made 1+ inning appearances occasionally, but he still worked in roughly half. That is NOT enough to wear out a reliever. It just isn't, Neal. I'm sorry. Not over that timespan. I've lived it and I've seen it.

Mariano Rivera has thrown 70 or more innings every year since 2001 (save an '04 injury). Jonathan Broxton throws 70+ every year. He threw 82 last year. He's on pace to throw over 70 again. K-Rod has averaged 75 innings for the last 5 seasons. 80+ twice. 80 innings is a high workload. But it happens. The dependable relievers in this game are counted on for 80 innings. That's an inning every other day. Which is what Marmol has more or less done (give or take four or five innings) through 60% of this season. 55 innings in 103 games. He's on pace for more than that, but I don't think Lou ever planned on throwing him 90 innings.

Lou has said he planned on resting him down the stretch, but now he's got a different problem. He's got to get him right. He has to get his confidence back, and the only way to do that is to work him more. He has to pitch. An interesting paradox.

To conclude, I have a problem with your weightlifting analogy. If I go bench press 3 days in a row, I get tired. If I went right now, today, not having benched in several months, day 3 would be a failure. In fact, day 2 might even be a failure.

Unless, of course, if I've conditioned myself to bench press everyday for the last 6 or 7 years. Then I bet I can do essentially the same bench on day 3 than I've done on day 1. Maybe a rep or 2 less, and if I give myself a day off on the 4th day, I'm right back in it on the 5th day. That's a more accurate analogy.

Neal,

You also said when you lose coordination, you lose control. That's correct. But, that's not the only thing you lose. I went over this a few days ago, but as you said yesterday, you've only recently returned. Wildness is not the only symptom of tired/dead arm. Wildness is also not the tell-tale symptom of tired arm. In fact, wildness is a symptom of several things.

If you have a tired arm, you lose velocity, which Marmol has not. He was still throwing 96 on Thursday. You change your arm angle. He hasn't done that yet, either. With most pitchers, you talk about shoulder fatigue when they get tired. With Marmol's mechanics, I wouldn't be surprised if we'd be talking about elbow pain, as well. In that case, you lose any kind of ability to throw a breaking ball like he does. The slider is still very sharp, he just can't control it.

It's not a very tactful analogy, but I compare the symptoms of tired arm to the symptoms of having a heart attack. If you get a headache, you just don't feel well. Like having some wildness. Could be one of a bunch of things. If you change your arm angle, maybe you start feeling a little lightheaded. You start having trouble breathing. It's still a problem there that probably needs to be checked out, but it doesn't mean you're having a heart attack. Now, if your breaking ball goes flat and you've lost 5 or 6 mph, call 911. That's the left arm hurting and the chest pain. You've got trouble.

It wouldn't surprise me if they put Marmol on the DL when Wood comes back and called it "tired arm". But that's not the problem right now.

We'll have to agree to disagree.

At the start of the season he was throwing 98. At the peak of his down cycle he was throwing 95. All athletes aren't the same, what one guy can do doesn't necessarily apply to everyone. Have you ever heard of a guy with a 'rubber arm'? Marmol is what 5'10 and throws 98 MPH's. How many people have you ever met or seen like that? You can't just generalize because some guy you knew could throw in a game 4 times a week for 3 months.

I ran a lot of track, and I was slow. But when the sprinters put had to join the distance guys for their endurance workouts, I could beat a guy who played wide reciever for TN in the 200. Was I more fit than him? No, but my body was less dependant on fast twitch muscles and could more quickly recover. You can't just make blanket assumptions and think they apply to everyone, particuarly a freak of nature like Marmol.

That's fair enough.

But, please keep in mind that because we agree to disagree on this particular issue doesn't necessarily mean that one of us is right and one of us is wrong.

I've seen dead arm. I've had dead arm. I don't think that's it. But it could always be. If so, he's throwing the best breaking ball I've ever seen for a guy with a tired arm.

Overwork is not the same as dead arm. You're the first person in 120 years of MLB baseball to intimate it is.

Nevermind. I retracted this comment.

Sorry, but I don't get your point. The best pitchers pitch the most innings. If Lou called up Wuertz and put him in there in a tie game in the seventh inning and he sucked, and Lou said, "Well, he sucks, but I don't want him to get rusty due to too much inactivity, so I put him out there anyway," then that would be really ridiculous.

Obviously, Howry has been terrible this year – this is the most HRs he's allowed in a season since 2002– but Lou using him obviously tells you what he thinks of his alternatives. Howry has great control, so Lou gives him more leeway.

I agree that I would want to use my best pitchers in the most critical situations.

All I'm saying is that there have been opportunities late in ballgames where Wuertz/Lieber could have been used. Especially ballgames in which the Cubs had comfortable leads.

Actually Joe Torre said almost that exact same thing about one of his relievers once. If the guy's job is to get out two left handers, or to only give up one run in the 8th to bridge to the closer, that's his job. Every manager would love to have a bullpen full of vintage Jesse Oroscos and Bruce Sutters, but they have to play the hand their dealt.

Wuertz's stuff comes and goes. If you don't think Pinhead misused Wuertz this year, then you're probably new to closely observing Cubs baseball. It's proven without a shred of a doubt that Wuertz, when he is on, is a bonafide late inning option. If Pinhead can't get him to perform that way (most likely because he was used too infrequently as Pinhead burned out Marmol and counted on Howry), that's Pinhead's short coming.

"...but they've regressed..."

Wood hasn't regressed, he's on the DL, for Chrissakes. Step away from that ledge...or else take some Vicodin.

Pretty ugly loss for sure. I blame the offense not Howry in particular. Howry has been struggling. Samardzija impressed but I doubt he will be on the team all that long. Fukudome and Soriano could have put the Cubs up in the 7th and 8th. Ward striking out wasn't pretty either.

Offense is just bad right now. Maybe Houston will help us out tonight. Unlikely but stuff happens.

I agree. Lee, Ramirez and Fukudome went a combined 1-for-12. They just had a bad game.

The Cubs have still scored more runs than Milwaukee and have allowed fewer, and Milwaukee can't continue to go 22-10 in one-run games.

If Lou isnt going to use Eyre, Jimbo should trade him. I mean if teams are willing to give up a good player for Ohman I imagine he could get a solid prospect for him. There was 2 good points in that game to use Eyre:

7th- to intentionally walk Cantu. At this point you force Gonzalez to pick his poison: Jacobs V. Eyre or Helms V. Howry or Gaudin
9th- Have him start the inning. If he does I wonder if Gonzalez even uses Hermadia their if he has to face a lefty.

and his ridiculous rant on the Cubs and Soto?

I'm watching the Rockies/Reds and he goes off on Tulowitzki for not living up to his contract he just signed. Awesome stuff...

Phil Coke and Ross Ohlendorf.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/unfiltered/?p=958

Here are their milb.com profiles:

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stat...
http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stat...

Both are 26, Coke is a southpaw and Ohlendorf is a righty who was the centerpiece of Unit trade but has struggled since becoming a Yank farmhand. This is a very bad return for the Buccos unless the guys who havent been named yet are the centerpieces of the deal.

BP link says Ohlendorf, Coke, Jose Tabata and George Kontos.

I think Tabata is the only one worth a damn.

 

Kontos has a good arm, but has struggled with command and he was NYY 25th best prospect going into the year. I could see him being viewed as equal to a 1st round sandwich pick. Tabata is a player with a 1st round grade so those two for Marte is an ok to good deal as they matched the talent they could get in compensation for him bolting as a free agent. However including Nady and only getting a pair of 26 year old journeyman type back is where it gets a bit stupid for PIT when you look at all the buzz Nady got in trade rumors.

The Cubs are like a bun without a hotdog. We lost because the middle of the order wasn't there. 2HR, a double, 9 hits sandwiched around a 1/12 performance and all we get is 2 runs.

This has been going on too long now. Theriot who usually is in front of them has been on base more than 37 times this month (.422 OBP) but only scored 9 runs. He scored 19 in April, 17 in May.

I think we really need to mix up this lineup.

I mean D lee 6th kinda mix up.

The Cubs are like a bun without a hotdog.
==================

I like it!

Today Dempster was mustard, Howry was chopped onions. Shark relish?

'98 Cubs, Sammy was the hotdog?

I thought Jim Edmonds was a hot dog.

Houston doing it's best to keep the Cubs in sole possession of 1st:
3-1 after 8 innings.

Whew.

Thanks, Houston.

Astros 3, Brewers 1 final.

NYM 7, STL 2

I just heard from a friend that Chad Fox is stretching on the field at Wrigley. Can anyone confirm this and whether he is going to be placed on the roster today?

He might be getting ready to throw on a side session to see if he's ready to start a rehab assignment. There's no way they'd activate him cold...

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