Cubs Win! Samardzjia, LaHair keys but Marmol, Stewart and Soto get in on the act

Cubs Win! Samardzjia, LaHair keys but Marmol, Stewart and Soto get in on the act

Good Cubs win today.  They once again got solid starting pitching and a HR by Bryan LaHair, but this time they got some help as Ian Stewart had a HR and a nice defensive play that may have saved an extra run.  Geovany Soto had two hits, a walk, and an RBI to contribute to the 3-1 win.

There's no doubt that it was Samardzija who was the star of the game.  He threw 95-97 throughout the entire game, including 97 in his last inning and 96 on his last pitch.  His command was back and although he may have hung a slider or two, he generally was putting the ball where he wanted it.  The split-finger, in particular, was a major knockout pitch today.  All in all, he pitched 7.2 innngs, gave up just 3 hits, two walks, and one run.  He struck out 7.  The performance moved him to 3-1 on the year with a 3.41 ERA.  He has 1o walks and 32 strikeouts in 31 innings.

Bryan LaHair got the Cubs on the board with a HR into the RF seats and Stewart gave them the only other run they needed with a line drive HR into RF.  Stewart had been hitting the ball well but without much luck, so it was nice to see him get rewarded this time around.

Geovany Soto also hit the ball well today.  He had 4 good ABs with the only out resulting on a sharp grounder to 3B.  He drove in an all-important insurance run in the 6th.

The game also featured good defense.  We mentioned Stewart's nice play, which was on a barehand pickup and throw on a slow roller to 3B.  It was especially important because Joey Votto than walked and Brandon Phillips had a single.  As it is, the Reds scored a run, but the great play prevented perhaps another...maybe even a big inning.

Soriano also made a couple of nice plays in LF.  Blake DeWitt and Starlin Castro turned in a spectacular double play in which DeWitt made a diving stop, but it may have been Castro's conversion that was even more impressive.  The flip was low and he made a nice play to snare it and get the ball off submarine style to complete the double play.

Rafael Dolis came in and gave a glimpse of what makes people think he can one day be a closer.  He threw 97 mph sinkers that were simply unhittable, then buckled Zack Cosart's knees with an 83 mph slider.

Then, of course, there was Marmol.  He was around the strike zone enough to get the benefit of the doubt on a couple of calls.  He struck out two, including Phillips to end the game.



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  • It was really great to see some of the older Cubs get in on the action. Soto and Soriano both hit the ball hard, even if some of them were outs. I think they'll be pulling out of their slumps and will be able to make up for a few Cubs who have been having success that's unsustainable (I'm looking at you, Campana and LaHair) and are likely to level off.

    Good to see Marmol pumped about a 1-2-3 ninth, but it still wasn't exactly a walk in the park. Votto nearly went yard. The first strikeout probably should have been a walk. But so much about being a closer is confidence, and maybe Marmol has his back.

    Most of all, it's great to get another gem from Samardzija, especially since it's on the road. I was hoping they'd take him out after the 7th, but I suppose it's good to build his endurance and get him closer to that 100-pitch count. But I liked the efficiency. Brenly mentioned how the Reds looked like they were going to go after his first few pitches as a way of avoiding that unhittable splitter he throws with two strikes. These are the kinds of adjustments major league teams make to try to derail a hot pitcher like Shark, and it didn't work. So the League's going to have to go back to the drawing board to find a new strategy.

    Finally, it's nice that Stewart got a HR, although he's still been the unluckiest hitter on the team. He always seems to hit line drives right at fielders!

    Early in April, I was thinking this Cubs team might compete for the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft. But I no longer think that's the case. Not with SPs like Garza and Samardzija.

  • In reply to Taft:

    I think it's encouraging that Marmol was getting swings and misses. That has to do a lot for his confidence. And great point about having the vets step up today. We can't expect Campana and LaHair to carry the offense all year long.

  • Wow, it's starting to look like we might have a #1 and #2 on the staff already. That can certainly speed up the rebuilding process.

  • In reply to TokyoCraig:

    Makes it tempting to keep Garza, doesn't it?

  • Like to see Soto playing like someone is breathing down his neck for playing time. He has had a free pass since his nice rookie season.

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    Soto had a real nice day at the plate. 4 quality ABs. Hopefully that means he's out of his slump.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I still maintain that trading Garza would be crazy. It's just unlikely that any group of prospects will amount to what he is.

    i think he's a 1, I know others disagree on that point, but even if we accept that he is a 2, you just don't come across solid #2 pitchers who are under control and probably signable to a "not overly ridiculous" contract. I'd pay him 14-17mm/ year until he's 34.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    I hear could make a pretty good argument for keeping him -- and it's certainly better than trading him if teams aren't going to give you great value.

  • Nice that the Cubs finally pick up a player (LaHair) that another
    team let go and he is only 30. Have to enjoy whatever good
    player we have, before the July trade deadline.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    That was a nice little signing by Hendry.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Lets be honest though, Hendry didn't pick LaHair up because he thought he had this kind of potential. Hendry picked up LaHair to be organizational filler with the potential to be a bench player.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I don't think anyone thought LaHair was going to be this good. He was a minor league free agent.

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    John, imagine keeping Garza and possibly adding Cole Hamels to go with Samardzija. It's a nice dream.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    It's potentially a nice starting 3 if Samardzija is indeed for real. So far he looks good.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    John, is David Wright looking anymore attractive to you?

    Given the restraints of the CBA, Free Agency may have to play a bigger role, and given the organization's lack of a legitimate 3B in the upper levels of the system, the Cubs might do well to get him.

    The Yankees and the Red Sox shouldn't have interest in him, and if the Mets trade him, his 2013 Club Option for $16M is automatically voided, but even if they don't trade him, there is no guarantee the Mets will pick up the option.

    Wright would look good hitting between Rizzo and LaHair.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Agreed, he'd look good, but I don't know if David Wright's the guy. He's 30 and probably not a long term answer for them. He'll probably cost too much to acquire.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Boy Mike that sounds great, but I just don't see them spending that money just yet on one guy unless he was a star everyday player.

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    Yes. It's not even like shark gives a dempster Randy wells type outing. When he's on he is dominating lineups so far. Like one guy earlier said the reds tried to make adjustments on them and he still plowed through the lineup. My only worry with him at this point is focus throughout the entire game on making quality pitches and not relying too much on his fastball even though its a great one. Threw 97 with movement on Bruce and bottom. was nasty.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    It's why it's great to have 2 legit out pitches. His FB is good enough to get people out. His slider is also good at times, although it's not as consistent. Teams can say they'll go after that FB, but it's not going to be easy to hit 97 with some sink.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    It's worth noting that he actually throws a two-seam, four seam and a cutter. I think there are times, when we think we are seeing a slider, he is actually throwing a cutter. There is also debate about his split-finger and changeup. I've come to the conclusion that he is throwing both.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Sliders and cutters hard to differentiate sometimes, but considering some of Shark's "sliders" were clocked at 91, I'm going to assume those were cutters.

    Could be, but I'm calling Shark's changeup a split, looks like too much sharp, downward movement to be anything else.

  • I have a hunch Soto's about to start hitting. Hope I'm right.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    I do as well. He's had some better ABs lately and yesterday was his best day yet.

  • I hope Soto starts hitting, the sooner he gets hot , the sooner the Cubs can unload him. As for Garza, if a team like the Yankees gets desperate and is finally willing to offer top prospects, then the Cubs have to listen. If teams continue to keeps shortchanging the Cubs when if comes to prospects then the Cubs should keep Garza. Unlike Soto, Soriano and Marmol, theCubs should not trade Garza unless it's for a impressive return otherwise it's not worth it.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    I think the Cubs can still get a good prospect for Soto. My comparison has been Iannetta, who the Angels acquired for top ten prospect RHP Tyler Chatwood.

    I don't mind holding on to Marmol if he can start stringing together better performances like yesterday. As of this point last year, I know that one exec called him among the top 7 closers in baseball. If he turns it around, he'll draw interest again.

    Soriano is the one that's harder to unload for anything worthwhile. It really is too bad the Cubs didn't give him a 6 year deal (assuming they still could have signed him), this would have been his walk year and the Cubs could have absorbed that salary with no problem.

  • "All in all, he pitched 7.2 innngs"

    This always gets me... how do you pitch 2/10's of an inning?
    It should be 7 2/3 or 7.67 innings.

    Anal, I know...

  • In reply to eaton53:

    Actually, a point can be used to separate two separate figures, in this case innings and outs. It's grammatically correct and it's easier to write. I'll assume everyone knows it doesn't mean 2/10 of an out.

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