Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it.
- Matt Garza says he was only mad at himself yesterday when he was stomping around and screaming wildly in the dugout yesterday after giving up a two-run homer to Adam LaRoche. “I was mad at myself,” Garza said. “I missed my spot to LaRoche and the ball just came back …. Other than that, I made one mistake, which is pretty good for the first time out.” Like I said in the Enhanced Box Score yesterday, Garza’s blowup didn’t really bother me because (1) it didn’t affect him, (2) it didn’t affect his teammates, (3) he was focused on himself, and (4) he was perfectly calm within seconds. This is not a Carlos Zambrano situation.
- Garza was not mad, however, as his bullpen for doing what they did to him all of last season – namely, blow one of his quality starts. “Those two guys, they’ve done it before,” Garza said. “They know that tomorrow is another day and they get another shot. I’m real confident that those guys will bounce back and get back on track.” I’m sorry, Matt – after you said, “those two guys, they’ve done it before,” I couldn’t keep reading…
- I’m not jumping on Dale Sveum already, but I will admit I don’t understand why he got James Russell up in the seventh yesterday, and then sat him down for the 8th, while Kerry Wood came into the game. Had Russell stayed up, he could have faced lefty Adam LaRoche, which could have ended the 8th inning when it was still 4-3 Cubs. If you’ve only got one lefty in the pen, might as well use him in high leverage situations against lefty hitters, no?
- And, before you ask, Sveum laughed when asked if it was time to change bullpen roles at the back of the pen. I tend to agree, though I’m not sure I could stomach another Wood-Marmol blow-up sandwich.
- As for Marmol, it’s tough to figure out the issue. He was wild, sure, but he’s always wild. His fastball was cranked up to 95 mph at times yesterday, with decent movement, a huge theoretical improvement over last year. But Nats hitters seemed to be right on anything he threw in the zone (and he seemed to be afraid of throwing his slider in the zone). Tipping pitches? Not sure, but it could be. He does have a new grip on his fastball, and maybe the advance scouts figured out they could tell when he’s getting into that new grip. On the slider, it sounds like grip is also the problem: “My slider; I can’t grip my slider right now. I think it’s going to be fine …. I don’t know what it is. I can’t get my slider [going].”
- Marmol and Wood were booed yesterday (which, although I’m not crazy about, I can certainly understand), and Marmol said “I accept that.” He added something he probably needs to tell himself to get by, but which is totally false: “They gave me the opportunity, and I got ahead 0-2. [Tracy] was lucky though. He hit a ground ball and there was nobody there.” It’s not like it was a 10-hop dribbler that bled through the infield. It was a solidly struck ground ball, pulled hard through the right side.
- Wood did not want to be interviewed after the game. I guarantee he feels as bad as anyone else.
- As noted yesterday in the Pre-Gamin’, the Cubs added Rodrigo Lopez and sent infielder Luis Valbuena down to AAA Iowa. Lopez is expected to be the long-man in the pen, so his absence thus far hasn’t hurt the Cubs, if you follow.
- Starlin Castro, having reached base safely in his first two games this year, has now reached base safely in 42 straight games, dating back to August 15 of last year. His defense looks pretty good so far this year, too.