Carlos Marmol

Derrek Lee crushed a two-run double, Aramis Ramirez and Tyler Colvin had two hits a piece (and Colvin also stole a base and scored two runs), and Ryan Dempster threw five innings of shutout ball before tiring in the 6th, as the Cubs and Royals played to a 5-5 tie in Cactus League action at Surprise Stadium this afternoon.


 

Carlos Zambrano threw five innings of three-hit shutout ball and Ryan Theriot drove in three runs with a bases-clearing double, leading a Cubs "split squad" to a 4-0 whitewashing of the Kansas City Royals in front of 11,842 fans at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny & warm Mesa, AZ this afternoon.


 

Starlin Castro smacked an RBI double into the left-center gap to drive-in the tying run, and then scored the go-ahead tally on a Micah Hoffpauir double, as the Cubs rallied from a 6-2 deficit to edge the Los Angeles Angels 8-7 at Tempe Diablo Stadium this afternoon.


Joe Inglett clubbed a two-run homer with two outs in the top of the 9th, as the Milwaukee Brewers overcame an early 3-0 deficit and defeated the Cubs 5-3 in Cactus League action at cold and rainy Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this afternoon in Mesa.


The start of the game was delayed almost an hour as a noon-time downpour flooded HoHoKam Park. But the rain did stop, and the dark clouds gradually broke apart, even allowing the sun to shine through by mid-game.


The Cubs will avoid an arbitration hearing with Carlos Marmol, as the two sides agreed on a deal for $2.125M...exactly the midpoint of their two submitted figures of $1.75M and $2.5M.

- Kevin Millar was on XM Radio this morning excited about signing with the Cubs. Apparently he lives in the Mesa area and wanted to go to camp with a team nearby so he could spend time with his 2 kids and a third on the way in June. He says he knows that if he as any chance to make the team, he'll have to re-learn third base and try to play some outfield. That should be fun to watch.

In the same radio interview, the hosts referenced an interview with Reed Johnson yesterday where Reed talked about the confines of the clubhouse at Wrigley. Reed seemed to suggest that the lack of space made it difficult on the team last year to escape some of the drama with Milton Bradley and so forth.

According to Lou Piniella's comments before the game, Carlos Marmol will be the closer in 2010.

"I see that, yes," Piniella said Monday. "I really do. I think he's
done enough and shown enough. We have confidence in him enough going
into spring training next year. It's his job. We'll leave it just at
that."

Short-term memory loss is becoming a problem for our manager, who just on Saturday had this to say about his future 2010 closer.

"You know, you just can't keep walking people like that
late in the game," said Cubs manager Lou Piniella, whose team fell to
72-68 as its four-game winning streak ended. "It catches up to you. And
it did today.

"With Marmol, it's the walks. This young man wants to
be a closer. And that's OK. But you've got to have command. If you
don't have command, you can't close."

Ah Lou, your slow descent into whatever PC term I should use for you forgetting things is either going to be highly entertaining or very, very sad.

Considering the Cubs abundance of problems and likely rigid budget constraints, it's probably best they stay away from the free agent closing market that includes Mike Gonzalez, Billy Wagner, Trevor Hoffman, Jose Valverde and Fernando Rodney.

 Ah yes, it is written.
Maybe spelled a little wrong, but applying a little "Da Vinci Code" logic and the conclusion is: Carlos is the Closar.
The answar.
The easiest decision the Cubs have to make during the off-season.
No longar does he appear bewildared.
And as time goes on, he's getting bettar.
In his last 8 appearances, Carlos has given up 5 hits, 2 runs, struck out 13, walked 6, and saved them all...but lost one.
And I couldn't be happiar.
Because I don't like feeling that 9th inning dangar.

Okay, enough with me being the bad spellar.


Tim Souers is the illustrator and author of Cubby Blue and appreciates the opportunity to guest blog here at The Cub Reporter.
http://www.cubby-blue.com

Gordon Wittenmyer's tweets that the Cubs will go with Carlos Marmol as closer...as expected. It's like choosing your death by slowing draining the blood out of your body versus stepping on a landmine. Good luck with that Cubs...

Ryan Theriot is back tonight....and the great scrap-off of '09 can commence between him and David Eckstein, who scrapped out a the tying run with that walk in the 9th. Theriot, Bradley, Lee, Ramirez, Fukudome, Soriano, Baker, Soto and Dempster go for the Cubs.

Kevin Gregg has been relieved of closing duties according to Lou Piniella.

"I think we're going to make some changes as far as what we're going to
do in late innings," Piniella said. "We'll have some more tomorrow."

That "more" will either be Carlos Marmol or Angel Guzman most likely, and I'm sure Lou will go with experience and name Marmol the new closer. Instead of losing by home runs, it'll be by walking in runs. I know I feel better.

The Cardinals won last night leaving the Cubs six back in the division. You might as well kiss that train good-bye. Never say never and all, but it would take a NY Mets-like collapse at this point and I don't see it happening. Of course, I doubt the Mets did either. The Braves and Giants won and the Cubs dropped a half game to the idol Rockies leaving them four back and in 5th place in the wild card. What's the August equivelant of June Swoon? August Ambivelance?

All I'm going to say about this victory is, Alfonso Soriano reminded us why it's worth having a left fielder who can't actually field, Kosuke Fukudome continues his drive to be christened "Mr. April," and Carlos Marmol, who is officially NOT the Cubs closer, made our opponents' best hitters look helpless in a way that the guy who is our closer never, ever could.

 

Gordon Wittenmyer "tweets" that Kevin Gregg has been named the Cubs closer to start the season. While everyone that owns Carlos Marmol in their fantasy league throws their mouse across the room, it's probably the best move for the Cubs...for now. A few blown saves by Gregg and I doubt that Lou will hesitate to flip roles.

The Indians roll into Mesa today with Mark DeRosa and Kerry Wood in tow and here's the Cubs' lineup from Muskrat.

LF Alfonso Soriano, SS Ryan Theriot, 1B Derrek Lee, RF Milton Bradley,
3B Aramis Ramirez, 2B Mike Fontenot, C Geovany Soto, CF Joey Gathright
and P Ted Lilly.

I recently purchased a copy of the Bill James Handbook 2009...I know, a little late to the party...but it does a great job of presenting information that isn't readily available, information I'll pass along as they become relevant throughout the season. I'm also going to get a subscription to BillJames.net to update everyone as the season progresses.

But thumbing through the book they have all kinds of stats on relievers and let's see if any of it will help Lou pick his closer on the year.

Alfonso Soriano ripped a two-out two-run single to cap a three-run 7th, and Carlos Zambrano threw six innings of one-run ball, leading he Cubs to a 5-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners in Cactus League action before 13,002 fans at Dwight Patterson Field at Ho Ho Kam Park this afternoon in hot & sunny Mesa, AZ.

box score

I know many of you probably watched today's game on WGN, but for those of you who didn't, or for those of you who did but weren't paying attention....

Chris Snyder stroked a three-run homer off the scoreboard to key a five-run 4th, and the Arizona Diamondbacks drubbed the Chicago Cubs 9-1 in record-setting heat at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this afternoon in Mesa.

box score

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