The Chicago Cubs (1-3) are off to another quintessential start. Opening the 7 games of the regular season at home - the team has losses in close, late game heart-breakers. The bullpen has blown 3 save opportunities out of 4, which is pretty indicative of the the Cubs 1-3 record to start the season.
Kerry Wood, Carlos Marmol, and now Shawn Camp. All three relievers have cost the Cubs wins on three separate occasions. Unfortunately, for the Cubs - these are the most relied upon bullpen parts neccesary for any success in the immediate future for the ballclub.
So far in any save-type situation, the Cubs are 0-3 with a 13.20ERA. Wood(27.00ERA, 1.0IP) has been at his worst since being drafted by the Cubs in 1995. The Cubs have had a superb showing by the starters, and mediocre output from the bats, but it is the bullpen thus far - who have let the team and fans down.
But before we gather with pitchforks outside of Wrigley Field calling for jobs, let's be patient. This is still only 4 games into the season, and it isn't as if things have looked that bad for the Cubs. Although a need for a left-handed pitcher may be addressed in the short, no knee-jerk moves should be made just yet on an otherwise stellar bullpen.
Wood (34), Marmol (29), and Camp (36) have been proven relievers for the Cubs and other teams, this can - and should - be chalked up to early season rust. It also should be noted that the right hand heavy rotation hasn't been very conducive against a Washington Nationals (15th) and Milwaukee Brewers (1st) team who ranked among the leagues best against righties last season.
If the Cubs are committed to "developing" players, and holding them accountable, then the best way early is to let them fix what problems they have. The strategy in a mass call up of talent impedes on the progress they are making in their respective levels of ball. With Manny Corpas struggling in the Iowa, calling up an Esmalin Caridad this early - just to send him back down later, could be detrimental to the psyche of the team. Lendy Castillo came in for his major league debut and gave up a run against the Brewers late Monday, so the best remedy for raising his condifence is to let him get back on the horse.
Without much adieu to common sense approach, the Cubs aren't in a particularly bad spot. Chicago plays the next three games at home against Milwaukee (2-2), then head to St. Louis for a three game run at the Cardinals (4-1), and new Miami Marlins, fresh off a Ozzie Guillen 5-game ban. So a healthy climb into early contention isn't out of reach for the North Side.
So to my Cubs fans who have witnessed the same late game disasters that I have. Don't make haste just yet.
Give it some time.