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…

  • CapnCub

    I am definitely impressed by the starting pitching this series. I’m not even going to get started with bullpen talk lol

  • KidCubbie

    Great game all around. Forget the error at the end. Castro will get that ironed out. Shark was outstanding. Sori got RBI’s when it mattered and Stewart had a great at bat against a lefty. All in all good game.

  • cjdubbya

    Seriously. Eff that guy in the face.

  • Stockholm Cubs

    Love these quick EBS’ that you’re handing us!

    • Brett

      Thanks. It’s a staple of the place, and I’m usually trying to create them as soon as the game ends. Hopefully they are a bit more cheery from here on out.

  • djriz

    Good news———–CUBS WIN!

    Better news———-Marmol not available Monday!

    • JustSwain

      yeah, but Wood is, and with the 1/3rd of an inning Marmol got today, he’s got a much better ERA than Wood. Its 7 runs lower.

  • supergeek24

    Maybe we will be good untill the bullpen comes in

  • Joshua Edwards

    I would also tell Ian Desmond to find the first ticket to anywhere and GTFO.

    • Brett

      It’s funny, I almost did him, too. Probably should have highlighted both.

  • Kyl-el

    Ian Stewart home run watch: 59 games

    But I can’t say I’ve absolutely hated what I’ve seen from him. It is nice to have a patient hitter in the lineup, and his pick and throw at third today was amazing.

    • KCubsfan

      I could care less how many HRs he hits it the RBI that matter.

      • DocPWimsey

        Except that HR are a “true” personal statistic whereas RBI are an artifactual one. The Cubs need Stewart to make up for what ARam provided last year. If the guys in front of Stewart have decent OBPs, the Ian will get RBI as a side-effect.

        • bricky9

          please insert girder

        • JustSwain

          Yeah, he’s only gotten a home run swing on 1 shot in three games… I can see why people are panicking. I mean, at that rate its possible he’ll only hit 75 home runs if the wind knocks down another 5 no doubters. Come on, we all saw that shot in game one, it would have gone out of any other park in baseball, and would have been a triple decker at Yankee stadium. So far he has shown pretty good defense, power, and got an RBI against a lefty. Thats pretty darn good for the first three games.

  • Mike

    It really can never be easy, but it was a thrilling first win. Samardzija was outstanding. Way better than I thought he’d pitch. Just what the doctor ordered after those brutal opening losses.

  • ProfessorCub

    First time, long time…

    Brett, love the EBSs, keep them coming.

    BTW – my brother (Josh) was the guy in the BN t-shirt in the pic you posted yesterday! I’m very jealous of his visit to Wrigley this weekend.

  • John

    More good news Anthony Rizzo tied the I-Cubs game up at 5 with a 3 run shot off a lefty!!

  • Andrew

    In fairness to Starlin, aside from that play, he played great defense at short and helped pad the lead at least. I also think Lahair should have picked it but i guess we might get used to that with no Pena. At least Lahair had a good start offensively. Samardzija looked like an ace today. I think he went to 3 balls like once, and Brenly mentioned he went 0-1 on 25 of 31 guys. This is looking like a formidable top 3 starters.

    • spearman

      Dude, that was a nasty throw to first.

    • DocPWimsey

      Watching it, it looks like Castro was too conscious of the situation: it looked like he was “forcing” the throw to try to make it accurate. If you think about it, baseball is best done if you don’t think about it.

      • Eric

        “If you THINK about it, baseball is best done if you don’t THINK about it.” That seems like a paradox.

        • JasonB

          Don’t think, you’ll only hurt the team

  • wernert

    Soriano playing better defense and baserunning that seems to have half a clue. Squint your eyes so you don’t see the bullpen and you see a halfway decent team.

  • Leroy Kleimola

    LMAO @ Dude Go Away!!!

  • JungleDrew

    No one really seems to be giving much credit to Soriano today… I know 3 games does not a season make, but he has been working hard. In his first game he attempted a steal (which I still think he made), he’s been hustling in left to make plays without the classic Soriano let-me-find-some-way-to-screw-up Hop. And today he made a legit diving catch (wasn’t a pretty one, but I think we all know that in seasons past that was a base hit). Plus he went first to third on an outfield single. !!!! Soriano definitely seems to be taking the new mantra of playing the game the right way to heart… I don’t know if it’ll make him worth his contract, but at least I’ll be able to enjoy watching him this season.

    • al

      I agree. And 2 RBI’s was nice to see.

    • http://!? Houston Transplant

      I agree. It wasn’t painful watching Soriano today. The only time I had flashbacks was before the sac fly (I think it was that at-bat), he swung at the slider down and away. My heart skipped a beat…but then he did the “situational” thing and drove the guy in on the sac fly.

      Scary to say, but this far, Soriano is the LEAST of our worries. I’d take a much more predictable season from Soriano both at the plate and in the outfield this year, even if that means giving up some of those tears that he goes on for a week or two. I’d sacrifice those to stop seeing as many of the “low” moments.

      Great job, Samardzija! That was a pleasant surprise and I hope it can continue.

      • JustSwain

        he’s not perfect yet on Sliders down and away yet, but he’s only swinging at about 1 in 4 this year (I kept a tally during ST). Thats compared to AT LEAST 1 in 2 last year, and maybe closer to 2 out of 3.

    • Andrew

      I had a conversation during the game about how much I’m really liking seeing hustle and smart plays out of Soriano. One of the most frustrating things to see is when a guy has so much ability but seems to be very half-hearted in their approach. I don’t know what’s changed (and I’m also aware that it is only 3 games), but I’m liking the 2012 Soriano.

  • al

    Brass balls to bring in Marmol again.

    97 mph in the 9th? After 100 pitches? I want ten bucks of what Samardzija is taking.

  • Cheryl

    LaHair with two doubles wasn’t shabby either.

    • CubFan Paul

      Then quit trying to replace him

  • DocPWimsey

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

    That could be a general remedy. The 4 NL playoff teams were in the top 5 for minimum bullpen innings pitched last year. Sure, good bullpens are nice: but the best bullpen is sitting down.

    • http://!? Houston Transplant

      That’s true. Our starting pitching has been very impressive the last 3 days. Let’s hope it’s a trend and not an exception to the norm. If we can consistently get to the 8th/9th inning, we’ll win more games than if our starters can’t get past the 6th.

      That sounded incredibly “duh” of me to say, but I said it anyway.

    • Ron Swanson

      Both because if they are sitting, your starter is doing well and because the fewer innings leads them to be well rested when they are called upon. I think both angles are important in understanding that phenomenom.

      • JustSwain

        Also when they are sitting most of the time, when you DO have to go to the pen, you can go to your best relievers. Thats a third important factor I think.

    • Andrew

      When you consider that these guys will only get more stretched out as the season progresses, I’m excited about this rotation. I’d say if this game were a month from now, Samardzija stays in even after the 2-run homer and gets the complete game.

  • gratefulled

    I was just as impressed with the change-up that Shark threw to Zimmerman (?) in the ninth as I was with the constant heat he was throwing all day. Shark was simply awesome today…back-door breakers, inside-cutters, high-heat, ate up the corners, etc…

    Now, bring on Volstad and let’s see what we have with this guy. I will be anxiously observing and analyzing every pitch he makes tomorrow.

  • Jay Anderson Jr

    So happy for Smarj. He earn his opportunity and so far, has made the most of it.

  • Eric

    Hey you know what you do when you can’t sign a CJ Wilson? Create your own! Until Rizzo and Jackson come up, Smardzija is one of the few guys that exciting to watch. Because he could be a part of the new emerging core.

  • alsongs

    Samardjiza was unbelievable, but you also gotta give Clevenger a little credit for calling a good game, getting one hit, and getting robbed of another. Also who put the spell on Soriano? Some kind of magician there. Let’s hope it lasts.

    • JustSwain

      The Magic comes from a mysterious element known only as “Competentcoachingium”

  • Stuart Williams

    Great starting pitching. The path to a respectable club will be the quality and depth of starting pitching.

    I still disagree with bringing in Marmol. These are well paid professionals that have to learn that if aren’t delivering, you don’t play. He should have to earn his way back to the closer job by pitching in less meaningful situations and proving that he deserves it.

    Dolis or Russell should have been given the ball. What if they turn out to be a better closer?
    Competition is good.

    • gratefulled

      I agree. Nothing wrong with the other team wondering who you will bring in in the 9th either. What bothers me the most about our closer situation is that Marmol has actually said he hasn’t found the grip on his slider yet and doesn’t know what the problem is. He has also admitted to having trouble finding the plate. Until he does, I’m not sure this is the dude we want coming-late into close ballgames.

      Clevenger does deserve some credit today as well. He played a great game. After watching Castillo a few games here in Des Moines, I think Clevenger won that battle for more reasons than just being a left-handed bat.

  • Jeff

    I have to say that I thought Soriano had a great game. He made a couple nice plays in the outfield (which may very well be the first time that has EVER bee said about him) and he got a couple key RBIs. Minus that error by Castro in the 9th, this was a pretty good game overall. GO CUBS GO!!!

    • JustSwain

      I was thinking the same thing about Soriano…He looks…Rejuvinated? Something about the way he is playing this year. He’s got a better approach at the plate, and while Len and Bob might have overstated things a bit, he’s getting better reads on balls and positioning himself better in the outfield.

  • brittney

    Smarj did a hell of a job today. Never did I expect 8 2/3 innings from him. I am excited to see how the rotation does as the season gets in high gear. If they pitch 85% of their games like this, the cubs will finish a little better than expected. If we can just stuff marmol in a box and ship him to an island in the middle of nowhere….I would be a happier cub fan. I love k. Wood but the diehard cubbie fans are going to riot wrigley. Its just not acceptable! He’s supposed to be a well seasoned veteran of the team and he’s blowing games like that! Let’s hope he’s working out some kinks (I heard that’s what spring training is for)

  • Andrewmoore4isu

    Did anyone see te blank look on sharks face when he gave up the homer?

    • JustSwain

      Well, they were unearned runs…Maybe he was like “Meh, I’ll get the next guy, and those won’t even count in my stats”

  • Bric

    LaRoche looks like a unibrow who waxes his bikini zone (above the nose).

    In regard to the bullpen, sad to see that it was Carpenter that went to the Red Sox but happy it wasn’t Dolis. I think he’s gonna become the eighth inning guy by June. Brett- any way of finding out who the names were that kept getting passed back and forth before settling on Carpenter? Just curious. Thx.

    • Brett

      Not really, at this point. Carpenter was close to being the primary piece of compensation way back in November before (I’m told) John Henry threw up the stop sign and said the Sox had to get more.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Marmol has faced 11 hitters over 3 games and thrown 48 pitches. He has had one swing and miss. That may be a lot of things, but that is not a closer.
    His arm is either hurt, or he has completely lost his mechanics. The Cubs simply can not continue to have him in ball games consistently, late with games on the line. And I think they know it, just are trying to do it without all the drama. Dolis is the long term solution, maybe shorter than we all realize.

    • Brett

      The hitability is, to me, the biggest concern, just like you said. He’s always been wild. But he’s also always been able to miss bats.

      • JustSwain

        I’m reminded of Borowski during his last year with the Cubs when he set the consecutive saves record. He was getting saves, but they were all ugly, and his ERA was sub par for a closer. How long do you continue to go with him? It was an easy answer for Dusty since Borowski was getting saves, as soon as he stopped getting saves they replaced him (anyone remember who replaced him? Just curiousity but I forget). Marmol is going to be a easier call if he keeps blowing 2 out of 3 save opportunities, but he has so much better stuff than Borowski had. At least he did when he was throwing well. He just doesn’t look like himself. His delivery is so wild I’ve never really gotten a good read on his mechanics, but his arm slot looks O.k. Anyone else notice something in his delivery that might indicate what is wrong with him?

  • ferrets_bueller

    Whats with all the member name changes around ‘ere lately, anyways?

  • Damon Berryhill

    Anyone else think Castro looks faster on the base paths? The way he’s running 50 stolen bases isn’t out of the question.

    • Brett

      I think his speed looks about the same; he’s just running a whole lot more.