Tuesday, June 23, 2009

One Costly Walk

The hire wire act out the bullpen really needs to stop. Maybe I should be upset about the Cub offense squandering major chances in the 1st, 4th, and 6th to blow the game open. However what really bothered me about this game was Kevin Gregg's walk to Don Kelly to start the 9th.

Every time last year Kerry came out for the save and he either walked or hit the first batter, it almost always meant disaster was on the way. That thought crossed my mind as Gregg missed high on a slider to issue the walk. Granted it was a close call and Kelly had had a pretty good at bat to that point, but I felt Gregg/Hill could have been a little more aggressive earlier in the count going after a guy with 26 total at bats this season.

Kelly seemed to play the role Nate McLouth did last night, as he scored on the Rayburn and Inge home runs, and made a nice catch the rob Kosuke of an RBI single in the 6th. The fact remains that this bullpen needs to stop issuing walks. Gregg's 15/32.1 (BB/IP) is pretty good, his problem is giving up too many home runs (6). My general problem outside tonight's game is with Carlos Marmol and Aaron Heilman.

Marmol's BB/IP ratio stands at 33/33.2, and he has given up more walks than Ted Lilly in 1/3 the innings. Heilman hasn't been the glowing example of control either at 21/31. Obviously both these guys have strike out stuff, so you can deal with walks to a certain degree. The degree they are going out so far this year is too much.

The encouraging thing is that if these two guys can turn it around, the Cubs could eventually put together a pretty strong bullpen. Jose Ascanio is striking people out at a solid rate (18 in 15 innings) and we all know how good Angel Guzman was before his injury. Add Marmol and Heilman and their great stuff and you start to feel pretty confident in the late innings.

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