Enhanced Box Score: Nationals 3, Cubs 4 – April 8, 2012

How do you avoid the heartburn and heartache associated with the Cubs’ bullpen right now? Don’t use them.

The problem with that plan is your shortstop has to not boot the final out (leading to a meaningless home run). But, hey, who even noticed, right? It’s not like you were *nervous* when Carlos Marmol came into a one-run game, right?

Jeff Samardzija did what the Cubs’ front office, coaching staff, and anonymous scouts said he could do if he kept pitching like he was in Spring Training. That is to say, he dominated. His control was impeccable, his stuff was good, and his fastball was in the mid-90s. In other words, he looked like a quality starter. If the transformation is legit, the Cubs could suddenly have a very good rotation. Of course, I’m getting *very* ahead of myself. This kind of transformation (decent, inconsistent reliever (former starter) becoming dominant starting pitcher) is rare, but it does happen.

I’m mighty tired of this guy, though…

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

78 responses to “Enhanced Box Score: Nationals 3, Cubs 4 – April 8, 2012”

  1. BleedBlueInWestNeb

    i’ll be Castro doesn’t steal 30 bases. that said he’s a hitting machine and we should probably hook him up with a somewhat inexpensive extension compared to what it will be in a few years.

    What an enjoyable game to watch today, all malox masher moments aside. Shark was tremendous. hope we can double up with a win tomorrow and feel good about things for a quick minute.

    i’ll be watching the cubs on my mlb.tv account on my sweet iphone4s on the way home from Giants / Rockies Coors field opener tomorrow. tickets through work…can’t wait.

    1. King Jeff

      He’s got 4 steals in 3 games. 30 steals is a very real possibility.

  2. Mike Foster

    When have the Cubs had a better 3 game start for the starting pitchers? They were awesome!

    1. JustSwain

      Prior, Wood, Zambrano?

      1. Mike Foster

        I said when, not who.

  3. johnbres2

    Even tho Shark legitimately won the game b4 Castro nearly blew it, his only sign of immaturity was how he started to hurry and change his approach as he “sniffed the finish line.” He needs to pitch the 9th just like its the 5th. Other than that, it was an almost Maddux-like performance today, how he mixed location and speeds to keep hitters off balance the entire game. It was a stellar and vintage performance that makes me equally excited to see his next start.

    1. Kyle Mayhugh

      I can’t prove it, but it looked to me more like he was just getting tired than a matter of pressing or immaturity.

      1. TahashiYushiro

        Tak chin chey cho chaFleitaTheo
        Tak cheen chey cut guud pwayas keep slugz
        SushiTheo no wike guud cheap pwayas
        Cubssuki sukorgFleita

        1. King Jeff

          I googled this post to try to see what he said, and google says it’s written in the Ewok language.

    2. DocPWimsey

      Kyle is right: endurance ≠ maturity.

      1. JustSwain

        He picked up 2 mph on his Fastball in that 9th inning. I’m kinda with johnbres2 on this one. Unless your going to try to convince me that throwing faster shows fatigue, I’m pretty sure he was just over amped, dropped his game plan, and ended up missing his locations while emptying his tank. Still. Damn. I mean I called it middle of Spring Training, he’s the only one of the young pitchers the Cubs had who had the stuff to be a top of the rotation pitcher, but damn. 8 2/3rds, 1 ER, 8 SO…Damn. Two more like that and I’ll be prematurely dubbing him the Cubs ace. And on that Castro Error, I’d just like to say, Lee would have scooped that, Pena would have scooped that, and Rizzo would have scooped that. Bad throw, but also a pretty haphazardous effort by LaHair. He’s lucky he got two doubles or I’d be on his case.

  4. Ivy Walls

    “Conversely, what teams learn from winning is how to win games”.

  5. LWeb23

    Anyone else notice that during that last LaRoche AB, the whole time Shark was throwing him junk, and then when he gets 2 strikes on LaRoche he decides to throw the fastball, which gets crushed?

    1. JustSwain

      Nothing Unusual about that. He had the batter out in front of breaking stuff, and thought he might catch him guessing breaking pitch. Laroche just had faith he’d eventually see a fastball and was ready for it when he got it. Hats off to Laroche, he had a hell of a series. I’m glad he’s left Wrigley and I can start rooting for him again.

  6. RicoSanto

    He got that fastball up and right down the middle.Sveum has to think ahead better for some match-ups.With only one LHP in the pen. He should have him ready to face one lefty like laroche when needed. We cant depend on Wood that much.Marmol too fat , no sharp break on his slider.
    ,

    1. JustSwain

      If Sveum had pulled Smard with 1 out in the ninth after he just won the game, and was let down by his defense, I would have called him an idiot despite the outcome. That was Jeff’s batter. He was a good one, and he got a good result, but I have no doubt in my mind that Sveum made the right call on that one.

      1. daveyrosello

        Dude, you don’t need to reply to EVERY single comment in the threads, mkay?

    2. KMax9

      I really like Sveum, but I just don’t understand not letting Russell face LaRoche one time in the series. Not one time? In the series in the 8th/9th innings he went 3-for-3 with a walk. Other than that non-move, I can’t complain. If Marmol/Wood do their job, the Cubs are 3-0.

  7. grace

    Cubs win?? Oh Yea they did .quit over anaylizing everything.it made my weekend to see them win. I’m PO ed at there first two losses. But quess what I’ve been PO ed at every loss they’ve had since 82. I like the small ball they’ve been playin. Hopefully it works in the long end. Startin pitchins been great

  8. Eric S

    Was I the only that noticed that Laroche was tearing the cover off the ball too? This guy was 0-3 with a walk on Thursday and hits 2 run HR’s in back to back games? I don’t remember him ever getting on base let alone hitting for power with any organization he was on. This came as a shock! Fantasy owners go get him! JUST KIDDING.