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Another Maalox Moment

By Garrett Monaghan

The Cubs continued their dominance over Cincinnati last night, beating the hapless Reds 4-3 behind a Mike Fontenot three-run homer, and another dominating start from Randy Wells. The bullpen managed to make things interesting again, however, as Carlos Marmol gave up a run on two hits and a walk before getting Willy Taveras to ground out to end the game. Marmol earned only his fourth save in eight tries, and continued a disturbing new trend of ninth inning theatrics.

After watching Kevin Gregg blow consecutive saves in Florida by coughing up six hits, five runs, and three homers in an inning and a third of work over the course of two games; it's time to get extremely worried about the Cubs' closer situation. Gregg says he's suffering from a "tired arm," and Lou Pinella seems inclined to give him a few days off. Unfortunately, that means the closer's duties are going to fall to Marmol for a while, and he's been overworked and erratic all season.

My personal preference to take over the closer's role, at least temporarily, would be Angel Guzman. Guzman's been excellent all year, and he's the only consistent pitcher at the back end of the Cubs' bullpen right now. Aaron Heilmann has been on my personal black list since the start of the season, and Marmol and Gregg have been too erratic to count on. If Pinella was willing to rely on young relievers like Jeff Stevens and Jeff Samardzija more often, the pen might not be quite so overworked, but Sweet Lou seems like going with his "veteran" guys.

I don't really see how the addition of Mike Grabow, a left-handed reliever who can't get left-handed hitters out, is really going to help in the long run. Frankly, I would rather have seen the Cubs hold onto Hart and Ascanio and let them get some work in. While Harold Reynolds seems to think there's a chance that Heath Bell could clear waivers, it's probably not realistic to expect the Cubs to add any more bullpen help this year. if the Cubs are going to hang onto the division lead, they're going to have to rely on some young arms to do it.

Stevens and Samardzija haven't been great so far, but they've both been lucky to work once a week lately. If Pinella were willing to let these young guys eat some innings August, he'll be able to rest Marmol and Gregg for the final push in September.

3 comments:

  1. Looking on the bright side, the Cubs are getting more save chances now than before the break. Grabow and Gorzelanny have looked OK or better so far and with them the Cubs have much more flexibility. If Lilly comes back healthy and they don't loose another pitcher they'll have six starters. What about asking Dempster to close for the last month and hopefully into the playoffs?

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  2. They also have former all star B.J. Ryan in the minors as well. It looks like he will be coming up soon so hopefully he will give some help to the bullpen.

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  3. Never mind what I said yesterday. It seems as if Ryan asked for and was granted his release.

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