With the series loss in Houston – to the AAAstros (I’m so clever!) – the Cubs now find themselves in such a position that, even if they won every series for the rest of the season (taking two of three), they would still finish below .500. Let that be a guiding principle for your state of the Cubs announcement, Mr. Ricketts…

  • Even before Carlos Marmol’s recent effective stretch, and even before his ineffective stretch before that, there was reason for concern. Marmol’s velocity has dropped dramatically this year, and he’s lost the ability to throw his fastball for a strike. Quade is finally acknowledging the velocity drop, but, instead of raising any physical concerns, Quade is taking the ostrich approach: “I think mechanically, he’s so unorthodox and so tough to keep in line, that to me [is it] probably as much as anything.” It’s just more mechanical issues. Nothing to see here, Quade says.
  • By way of reminder, Marmol was given an extension through 2013 in February, which will pay him $7 million next year and $9.8 million in 2013. Also, the Cubs refused to even listen to trade offers for Marmol last month. Again I say: these are guiding principles, Mr. Ricketts.


  • Harry Pavlidis at Cubs F/X, who has been banging the Carlos Marmol velocity problem for a while now, adds another data point: it’s not just that Marmol’s fastball velocity is declining, his slider velocity is increasing. That convergence (and the convergence of the movement on his pitches, also discussed by Pavlidis), for obvious reasons, is a bad thing. Here’s the chart he put together, plotting over 6000 pitches Marmol has thrown since 2007 (the top cluster are fastballs, the bottom cluster sliders):

  • As expected, Scott Maine was sent back to AAA Iowa yesterday to make room for Casey Coleman.
  • Tyler Colvin doesn’t mind hitting 8th. I do mind, at least insofar as it’s not going to give us a real picture of how he might hit as a regular next year.
  • Prospect Josh Vitters has heated up of late, and is hitting well in August. His overall numbers remain relatively unimpressive – .288/.322/.452 – but, and I know I say this all the time about Vitters, he still doesn’t turn 22 until next week. Vitters himself acknowledges a problem others have speculated about: he’s too good at making contact. “When you know you can hit a pitch, it’s hard not to swing at it,” Vitters explained. “But I need to wait until I get a pitch I can drive. That’s something I’ve been working on, and I think I’m making progress.” Maybe I’m overly optimistic, but, assuming health (which Vitters has not had in the past few years because of fluke injuries), I think he’ll break out in 2012.


  • A Freakonomics quorum on MLB realignment and post-season changes. If you have 10 minutes, it’s an interesting read.

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