Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Everybody Pause and Take a Step Back For a Moment

The general consensus I'm gathering from Cubs fans lately is a lot of angst towards the end of game situation. Not that I can blame anybody after the last four games, but I urge everybody to take a moment and not overreact.

Worry all you want about Marmol, it seems like his interest in throwing strikes varies day to day. Lou needs to give him more days off and trust what has become a solidly constructed pen. Grabow, Marshall, and Guzman can all handle the eighth inning. Marmol doesn't have to be the main guy every night. Kevin Gregg was pitching great before his trip down memory lane to Florida, and I think we need to ignore anything and everything that happens in Miami.

Lou has run Gregg and Marmol into the ground so far this season, and their arms are showing the fatigue. Luckily Lou seems to have recognized this and is giving Gregg some time off. There's a great chance that Gregg does back to closing out games with little issue when he's done with his vacation. If Marmol can be limited to three games a week instead of 4-5 he will most likely be more able to throw strikes.

Meanwhile the rest of the pen hasn't really done anything to make me panic. If Gorzelanny proves that he can pitch during his audition in the rotation there is a good chance Lou moves him to the bullpen when Ted returns. Jeff Stevens seems to have solid stuff, and the ability to get hitters out. There is a kid in the minors, Andrew Cashner (last season's first round pick), that has been moving up the ranks quickly as a starter and if the Cubs really wanted to bring him up in September they could.

August will separate the men from the boys in the bullpen, and September will most likely be a giant playoff audition (while still trying to make the playoffs) where a huge number of guys get tried out of the pen. Don't let one weekend in Florida take away from 2.5 months of good bullpen work. These things have a way of working themselves out and the Cubs have two months to sort through a list of competent, yet flawed relief pitchers.

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