Cubs showing signs of progress

Sorry no immediate game recap today everyone as John was at the Peoria game.

Don’t look now but this team is becoming fun to watch.

The Cubs have won 7 of 12. The starting pitching has really been the key during this run (2.40 ERA).

Paul Maholm has contributed greatly to that success after having a bad start to the season. Maholm has now allowed three earned runs in his last three outings.

He pitched a solid six innings Friday and allowed a run on three hits and walked none. This is the Maholm I always liked in Pittsburgh. Maholm is attacking hitters and changing speeds better, he says.

The 7 of 12 could have easily been 8 if it weren’t for Carlos Marmol’s meltdown this Thursday. I am now grateful the incident did occur, as it forced a much-needed change at closer.

Rafael Dolis picked up his second career save with a scoreless ninth inning as the Cubs beat the Dodgers 5-4.

Dolis said he came out nervous but quickly settled down.

 "I threw a couple of pitches out the zone and took a deep breath and calmed myself down," Dolis said through interpreter Geovany Soto. "And then I regrouped and threw strikes."

Dale Sveum seems to like the way Dolis handles himself so far.

"To come in in his first closing shot of the year, [Dolis] showed a lot of poise out there. He has really since the second week of the season. It's a big lift in the clubhouse."

The bullpen wasn’t flawless though as Kerry Wood got touched up for two runs in the eighth.

The Cubs got major contributions from David DeJesus and Alfonso Soriano. DeJesus was a home run short of the cycle and Soriano went 3 for 3  including his first extra base hit of the year.

Joe Mather hit the team’s first pinch homer of the season.

Dale Sveum also got kicked out of his first game for asking the wrong question about the strike zone during the ninth inning.

This looks more like the team we had hoped would be competitive this spring. If the starting pitching continues to impress and the change at closer pays off, this team can compete.

Just a week ago we were reading about this team being one of the worst Cubs teams of all time.

That take seems a bit over the top now.



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  • Yes, they are playing better. They should be better in July when
    they bring up Jackson, Rizzo and maybe Adrian. Can't forget
    the long term plan and keep veterans that can be traded for
    fair to good prospects.

  • It is always about winning!

  • I'm really glad Maholm has reverted back to form. The starting pitching has deserved to win more games. Hopefully the revamped pen and some bats from Iowa will make a nice combo this summer.

  • I haven't been able to see many of Maholm's games, at least since his hot streak. I'd be curious to hear a report about what he's doing differently. I would guess that he's just changing speeds better and maybe keeping the ball down?

    No surprise that Wood got roughed up, but I think he'll work his way back to form eventually, and at least it didn't cost us the game. If Wood returns to form, this could actually be a pretty good bullpen.

    We also knew that Russell would eventually give up a few hits. Again, thanks to Maholm's strong start and some run support, Russell's off-day wasn't a big deal. Good teams find ways to win even when everyone's not on their A-game.

  • Another great article, Tom! I agree, the starting pitching, except for Volstad, has been a pleasant surprise, as have some of the relief pitchers. Now, if only the rest of the pitchers and hitters would perform up to their career norms, this team will surprise a lot of people.

  • Thanks as always Ray. I still have hope for Volstad.

  • Matt Garza may be scratched and it could be Travis Wood on the mound today. He's been pitching better of late in Iowa, curious to see how much progress he's made.

    As a side bonus, that means I may get Garza tomorrow when I go to the game.

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