Cubs Preview and Game Thread: Marmol out as closer, Fujikawa in

Cubs Preview and Game Thread: Marmol out as closer, Fujikawa in

The big news of the day is that Carlos Marmol is out after imploding against the Atlanta Braves and the Upton brothers yesterday.  Kyuji Fujikawa is the closer.  I can't say we should be surprised.  Marmol has struggled since the spring and has shown no signs of improvement since the season began.  It's a gutsy move by the Cubs this early but it's the right one -- even if you pretty much end the possibility of getting any significant value for Marmol.  Of course, he didn't have much vlue at this point regardless of what role they gave him.  Right now, it may be more realistic to expect a Marlon Byrd type deal where the Cubs exchange Marmol for someone else's unwanted baggage in the hopes of finding a useful player, as the Cubs did with Michael Bowden last year.

The hour is late so let's get on with the lineups and what to watch for.  I'll add more bullets as they come.

Today's Lineup

  1. David DeJesus, CF
  2. Starlin Castro, SS
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Alfonso Soriano, LF
  5. Nate Schierholtz, RF
  6. Dioner Navarro, C
  7. Luis Valbuena, 3B
  8. Alberto Gonzalez, 2B
  9. Jeff Samardzija, SP

What to watch for...

  • Tom:  Who else? Kyuji Fujikawa steps in after his shaky outing and it'll be interesting to see how he handles the role now that he is officially the closer.
  • Fels: Starlin Castro. Best players should be your best players. And after a game like last night's, the best players can turn the teams fortunes around by putting the team on their shoulders. Big boy pants time...
  • John: I'm going against the grain and looking at the bottom 3 today to produce.  Tim Hudson is a very good pitcher and has been tough on the Cubs, but he's not overpowering and I think Luis Valbuena may get a chance to snap out of his early season funk with a couple of hits today.

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  • I'm glad Sveum isn't afraid to make a major move this early in the season!

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Yes. Me too. Had to be done.

  • It is a move that needed to be made,.... however am not convinced that Fujikawa is necessarily a big improvement after his appearance setting the stage for Marmol's implosion last night.

    IF Marmol can get his control back in order,... he can still be a useful guy in the pen. Problem is - you never know which version of him is going to show up from day to day. But until that time - I think mop-up duty until you can wrangle a trade (or he gets it together) is what has to be done.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    I don't think Fujikawa will be a shut down closer either but I think he'll at least be adequate. Or at least I hope so.

  • I think Carlos will be better in a set up tole.

  • In reply to 44slug:


  • In reply to 44slug:

    You were right the first time. With a cork in it.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    When you are pitching as bad as Marmol has been, he won't be good in any role. Best thing you can do is put him in non pressure situations (aka blowouts) and hope he figures something out.

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    What a show from Samardzija so far.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    He is nasty out there. Getting some late swings from some good hitters and then that splitter is unhittable.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Doesn't look like the control is a sharp as its been recently, but the stuff is so good it doesn't matter.

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    I would have to say this is the right move. I wanted them to let Marmol build up value, but not if it will cost the team a win. Honestly, if the Cubs can get a Michael Bowden and Hunter Cervenka for Marmol, I would be pretty happy. I'd like to get more for him, but beggars can't be choosers

  • In reply to Bill Newton:


  • It's probably the right move. Marmol had his best year when he was a set-up man, let's hope that he pitches better in that familiar role. I'm not writing him off, yet, but he obviously needs to improve his game.

  • Samardzija falling apart here. Get that last out.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Did you notice it was when they announced he'd hit his career high in strikeouts that he came apart?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    He was jinxed! Consistency with that slider is the main obstacle for him when it comes to becoming a true ace. His other two pitches are lights out but that slider sometimes gets him into trouble.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I think he may have started thinking too much. "Oh man, this is awesome. Gotta keep it up. Can't miss my spots."

  • Samardzija likes Jumbotron — for replays and stats
    By Paul Sullivan
    "The most practical argument is there's replay involved nowadays that actually makes a difference in the games," he said. "… I think fans and players want to see those replays, big screen or small or wherever it's placed."

    Off topic here. But interested in Denizens feedback to my short thesis.

    We can go over and over about the Cubs playing more day ball then any other team. And how it may or may not hinder the team throughout the season.

    But maybe, just maybe the lack of a Jumbotron with instant replays may play a bigger role then can be Quintified. We can see the replays and missed calls on TV. At the park we can see them on a tiny TV if we are lucky. But the umpires see no replays at Wrigley. The Cubs may be the only team in a major sport that does not provide this instant feedback to the fans, teams, AND officials. Who are human and fallible and we have all seen them make mistakes. Sometimes they realize it and "balance" it out. But some times they don't. "There's no crying in baseball", and basically no replay. And, I'll admit, all things being equal, that in general you will get a "home town discount" in terms of officiating. But with pitch trax and instant replay etc. etc. I wonder if the in the era the Cubs play in that the lack of the Jumbotron isn't the bigger difference then the Day vs. Night issue.

  • I'm not sure. Havent thought about it actually. We do know people change they're behavior when they know they are being watched/recorded, but I'd have to see numbers on it -- if that's even possible.

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    MLB doesn't allow in park replays of close/controversial plays, so the argument that a Jumbotron adds anything is irrelevant.

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    I don't think i've ever seen a pitcher have elite-level stuff and still give up 3+ runs. Shark was straight nasty today. The 4 walks and 4 hits were a byproduct of the fact that Atlanta just gave up on trying to hit stuff outside of the zone(because it was so nasty), forcing Shark to actually throw something hittable.

    Sometimes striking out that many guys can be a negative. High pitch counts, minimum 3 pitch at-bats, etc.

    Here's hoping for a comeback.

  • Sweeney is clearly too good for AAA.

  • My friends, this is what the beginning of a 100-loss season looks like.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Not looking good so far.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    heck of a good couple consolation prizes are waiting the biggest losers in Rodon/ Beede . Lets think positive lol .

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    What's troubling about how things have gone so far is that even people we're counting on for the future -- Castro, Rizzo, Samardzija -- have shown some weaknesses to this point.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'm pretending that isn't true for now. Optimism!

  • Rondon looks like He had a nice outing, how was his velocity today?

  • Nick Struck not missing any bats thru 4.

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