Sitting on top of the world

Sitting on top of the world
Shark slays another Buccaroo

Nothing feels better than an opening day win. Especially when all the players you hope have great years have great days. That was the case today as Jeff Samardzija put his foot down on the Pittsburgh Pirates neck and Anthony Rizzo went oop-upside-your-head with a 47o foot blast to right center field in a 3-1 win over the Bucs. The Cubs would get all the offense they would need when Starlin Castro, who had two hits, lined a single to left field. Rizzo, who hadn't hit a home run all spring, launched one that might, just might still be going. The Ball cleared the right center field bleachers and landed in the promenade. impressive. Wellington Castillo would add on in the 5th with a double to right scoring a very effective Nate Schierholtz who was running on the play. And Samrdzija, who had a somewhat shaky first, said "No Soup for you" for the next 7 innings. Cubs are in first place. LET'S OVERREACT TO EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!

 

We made the Shark's brain bigger. As a side effect, they got smarter. (Sorry. So love that line. One of my favorite bad movie lines ever. Gonna use it a lot.)

Jeff Samardzija was down right nails today. 110 pitches, 9 K's no runs in 8 innings. It almost mirrored his last start of the season, also against this Pirates squad. Some people look at Samardzija's record and see a bit of a bum slayer, as his outings against the Pirates, Padres, and Rockies of the world tend to inflate his numbers. But his stuff was just filthy. Mid 90's fastball that sets up a totally unfair splitter. I wasn't against him finishing the game.

Nate Schierholtz is gonna walk before Dale makes him run.

Nate Schierholtz got on in a variety of ways- walk, single, hit by pitch. And at least three of those times was followed by a hit& Run call from the bench. It speaks to 1) a belief in Wellington Castillo. and 2) an aggressive approach from Dale Sveum. Just 1 game, but very welcomed to see.

The Sushi that got a save in Pittsburgh.

So on the whole sphincter scale with 14 carats being the highest and 1 carat being the lowest I'd give that 9th inning a 6 carat rating. Marmol wasn't particularly wild. But he sure wasn't particularly good. But Dale had the same uneasy feeling we did and got him out of there quick. Russell to Kyuji Fujikawa. WHO LOOKED ABSOLUTELY AMAZING in throwing two 4 seam fastballs, one which was hit for a harmless fly out.

 

So Yeeha. Better to win them than lose them. And we're tied with the Mets and the Astros for 1st place. While the yankees are obviously tanking it for Rondon......I kid. I kid because the Cubs won opening day. And we have a day off tomorrow to let it all sink in. Good times ahead...

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  • Thanks for the post Felz. Got tired of hitting refresh on John's game thread, cause I just can't enough after this win.

    Too bad we don't have Garza, Barney and Stewart healthy. Cause if we did and I really like our chances.

    Schierholtz looks like he might be a real steal. He somehow looks bigger and stronger than I recall. Just seems like a solid ballplayer -- the kind of non-star that do nothing, except whatever it takes to win!

    And, I have to say it was a 12 carat 9th for me.

    It's all good, baby1

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    Haha! It's good to have the Felzz recaps back.

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    The 0 - 1 know only one thing. It is better to be 1 - 0.

  • Gonna add some love for Castro's defense. They are plays we've seen him make before but I loved the awareness. Had plenty of time on the first play and fired a strike. Looked confident and made it look routine. On the second good play he knew a fast player (Tabata) was running and got rid of the ball quickly. We know he has the physical gifts but if he's going to play with his head in the game like that, maybe he can win a Gold Glove.

  • Yeah, I didn't want to get all negative on Lillibridge's day. ( Although someone pointed out in the What to look for section.....just saying.) but I thought Castro was strong all around. It sure is cool when your best players are your best players.

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    Re: "Bum slayer"

    I know what you're saying, but it's worth noting he was pretty darn good against the Nationals and Brewers in his second and third to last starts last year.

  • Makes you think they shoulda made the trade with the Angels for Haren, injury risk and all..
    Certainly it's only one outing for Marmol but unless he is damn near lights out thru July, I don't think a team could get desperate enough to trade anything of value for him.
    Anyways, I'm gonna enjoy this win for what it's worth.

  • In reply to Bill:

    Totally agree Bill. Marmol basically has no trade value at this point. It's clear (at least after one game) that he still has major issues locating the ball. Perhaps he'll improve, but there's no way we pull off a trade for someone with a track record like Haren, even if we eat some of his contract.
    Plus, this deal would been completely on par with the FO's decision to sign a bunch of injured pitchers ;)

  • In reply to StalinCastro:

    Although I do like the Jackson signing; he's a bit younger than Haren.

  • Rizzo MVP
    Samardzija Cy Young
    Fujikawa ROY
    I'll even throw in a Gold Glove for Castro

  • In reply to Ratmoss:

    The problem with having a good memory is that I can recall one year after two or three games when there was an argument on one of the boards about whether Kevin Orie should get MVP, Rookie of the year, or both.

  • In Shark's defense, this wasn't your father's Pirate team. They've got lots of power up and down that lineup, and McCutcheon is one of the best players in the game. Plus, he was getting squeezed by the home plate ump, who seemed to be only giving that low strike call to the Pirates.

    Strasburg's stats were almost identical, but he pitched his gem against the lowly Marlins. Maybe we don't have a "true ace," but Samardjiza did a pretty good impression of one today.

  • The home plate umpire was terrible. Marmol was not good, but with a decent umpire, he probably would have gotten the save.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Have to agree about the plate umpire.

  • You call *that* a bad movie line?

    "What if Philippe does not have the mind of a human, but the murderous brain of a fly?"

    Vincent Price; The Return of the Fly (1959)

  • In reply to Ken Begg:

    With that line, was Vincent Price predicting the Bud Selig Phenomenon?

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Or Tom Tunney.

  • Only 87 more wins to go for the Wild Card!

  • Ugh. I told you you'd like shierholtz. This stinks (for the Giants). Good win for the Cubbies.

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    does getting on by hit-by-pitch count towards a batter's on-base percentage? what about getting on by an error? dropped third strike?

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Yes. No. No.

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    Watching the game late (ti vo), friggin Valbuena up to his old tricks of stranding runners with less than 2 outs again...Stewart cannot be that bad

  • When Rizzo hit that bomb, I think I actually did fall to the floor laughing. Glad I stayed home to see the game.

  • You can't read to much into it, but it could be argued that Samrdzija had the best stat line of any pitcher today.

    King Felix finished:
    7.2 3 0 0 1 8
    Kershaw finished:
    9 4 0 0 0 7
    Samrdzija:
    8 2 0 0 1 9

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    I forgot Strasburg:
    7 3 0 0 0 3

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    In reply to Quasimodo:

    Nothing against Shark, he was dominant, but I gotta go with Kershaw. Dude pitched a complete game shutout with 95 pitches against a very good offense AND hit a home run late in the game when the score was still 0-0.

    He won the game almost by himself.

  • look at the names Shark is being compared to ( Granted just for one day...) Kershaw, Strasburg and Felix.....That's pretty cool.

  • In reply to felzz:

    Yeah, I'm thinking all of this talk about drafting/developing our own Ace may have been happening all the while. Don't get me wrong, I'd still love to land David Price, etc... But Shark establishing himself as a true Ace does as much for this teams ability to sustain success as Rizzo or Castro's development.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I wholeheartedly agree Hoosier. I may not go so far as to say the rebuild hinges on Shark becoming the Ace of the staff, but it sure would speed things up and give them tons more options.

  • Cubs are wising up.
    Quick hook for Marmol instead of letting him blow it.
    Doubtful this wouldv'e have happened in pervious years,

    Heck... the Cardinals may have won a WS because the Cubs left Marmol out there to lose it on a bases loaded walk and wild pitch instead of yanking him and quite possibly leaving them on the outside looking in.

  • In reply to eaton53:

    Say it isn't so!

  • It is!! And it still pisses me off to this day.
    The Cubs had the boot on their necks and that goof let 'em get up!

  • Found it intriguing how Castillo snap throws to 1st base as often as he did. That's very Molina like. Something I dont think we have ever had on the north side behind the plate.

  • I see Marmol's year as a setup role. The eighth and ninth innings going to Russell, Camp, and Fujikawa. Marmol's history will be hard for him to forget in pressure situations. The Cubs will need outs in the 6th and 7th as well and Carlos seems more relaxed and confident in that role.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Expensive long relief man.

  • Well.... While Marmol's outing was somewhat predictable.... I'm willing to slow my role before making him a straight set-up man. Or jettisoning him completely. They've built Marmol up before. They can build him up again. He needs to trust his fastball more and throw it more. I like what Dale did, and I like what Dale said.

    Nobody is trading for a closer in April. Maximize value. Build him up. Get him good. Then move him. But first thing's first.....

  • In reply to felzz:

    I'm ok with giving him a chance to be made into trade bait.
    Just make sure you always got a couple of guys warming up.

  • New article and poll up on Carlos Marmol on the very question everyone is asking right now.

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    Thank you for using a line from Deep Blue Sea. You know it's a terrible, yet great movie when LL Cool J is the best actor in it aside from Samuel L Jackon, who conveniently gets killed after dropping the F bomb. As for the Cubs, definitely an encouraging game. All of the core players performed really well and the pitching was pretty good. I think they need to take some more walks though. Too many hacks at pitches low and in the dirt. The 7-9 spots really struggled, but you have to hope Barney comes back and at least provides some offense at the bottom of the order. Nice article

  • Very early, but have to say that the Schierholtz signing is looking like the DeJesus signing of last year: not overwhelming, but pleasantly surprising. The Cubbies are slowly improving!

  • Very early to call, but it looks like the Schierholtz signing is playing out the way DeJesus' did last year: not overwhelming, but pleasantly surprising. The Cubbies are slowly improving!

  • Dohh!! Sorry for the duplicate comment....browser problems...

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