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The Cubs outscored the Brewers 4 to 2 in innings two through nine tonight. Unfortunately, you’ve gotta play that first inning, too, and that’s where Paul Maholm made friends with the Brewers.

The disconcerting part was not so much the results – even great pitchers have clunkers – it was the way Maholm looked. That is to say, bad. He didn’t seem to have any idea where the ball was going in that first inning, and, by the end, was reduced to what looked like a quarterback trying to guide the ball over the plate. In the second inning, he was giving up long shots that very easily could have been homers on another day. And then he gave up a homer to Jonathan Lucroy in the third.

First start jitters? Trouble with the cold weather? We can’t be sure. He had a good (abbreviated) Spring, but let’s not forget that this is a guy coming back from a shoulder injury. We’ll just have to watch his next few starts to see if a pattern develops.

At least Lendy Castillo had a scoreless inning, David DeJesus got a couple hits, and Geovany Soto went deep.

  • hansman1982

    great day for the much maligned bullpen…

  • Njriv

    *sigh*

  • Jay Anderson Jr

    If one more of our players strike out looking in the 9th inning with a runner in scoring position, while we are trying to rally, I’m going to lose it. I can live with the strike out, but at least let it be swinging.

    • Pat

      We don’t often agree, but on this, I can’t argue with you, today. Absent a horrific call from the ump, there’s no excuse for watching the last strike of the game go by.

  • TWC

    Wow. I mean, this is like a mid-season EBS. I like it, and all, but jeez… we’re there already.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I know what you mean. It was partly, though, that I really did think those things looked ridiculous.

      • hansman1982

        admit it…you are wearing one now.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          If I am, you can’t see me…

  • TWC

    One of those things that I learned as a youngster from Steve Stone is that when a pitcher starts ‘aiming’ his pitches, he’s fucked. Seems like Maholm was doing that in the first.

  • CubFan Paul

    The good news: the 5 walks = 5 shots

    Awesome drinking game (my liver disagrees)

  • Joshua Edwards

    The EBS makes a loss bearable. Bless you. And forgive me if we have to repeat this sequence 90 times over the next five months.

  • czechxican

    Let’s see you screw this one up Kerry

  • Fishin Phil

    I’m going to chalk up that miserable performance to frozen fingers not being able to get correct grip on breaking ball. I know it’s lame, but it’s all I’ve got.

  • Stuart Williams

    If Byrd is on this team by June, you know that they are intentionally tanking the season. At least he is a great guy…

    • CubFan Paul

      “you know that they are intentionally tanking the season”

      …this team wasn’t built to win

      • hansman1982

        oh, god, not this debate again today…

        • MichiganGoat

          After every loss

          • Kyle

            More fun to talk about than the game. That was a brutal game to watch no matter how good or bad the Cubs’ season is going.

            • hansman1982

              Good to see Soriano is swinging the bat well early on.

              • Spencer

                and playing good defense.

              • CubFan Paul

                Sori should be batting 5th behind LaHair who’s also swinging the bat well but sveum doesn’t split up his lefties & righties for some reason

        • CubFan Paul

          It’s not a debate. The plan obviously wasn’t to compete in 2012. Retreads & youngsters.

          • FromFenwayPahk

            I respectfully disagree. This is a team built to compete. It can compete today, AND it can grow over time into a long term competitor. It can compete harder this year if the window opens. If the division looks weak. (and/or) If the ball bounces our way. (and/or) If the bounce back candidates bounce back. (and/or) If the right piece becomes available for cash and little else.

            2012 has not been sold off. And I like the rotation after the first time through.

            • CubFan Paul

              Technically they were built to “compete” by definition but the top heavy division isn’t weak, & the ball is definitely not bouncing our way and if the cheap bounce back candidates bounce back they’ll be traded in July to actual contenders that were built to win their divisions from day one unlike the Cubs. It’s not a bad plan if Theo&Co can get back young near ML ready pitching & young power bats

        • Brian

          It only been 2 days, since 2 months, that there has been a 3 page discussion on how the Cubs could have been so much better, while not spending stupid money, because, there was so many players the Cubs didn’t even attempt to acquire.

  • gritsngravy

    On a side note it doesn’t look like we are going to get Brandon Phillips. I don’t know if it’s just me but Darwin Barney is starting alot better at second base. As a fan you have to understand that the guy will play solid defense and hit around .300. I think Barney is a gamer and Cubs fans should have patience with him.

  • Ivy Walls

    hmm, already tuned out in the 3rd inning, 5th game of the season

  • FromFenwayPahk

    Listen for Maholm and Bosio to start talking about his “release point.” Or perhaps he could pitch the first inning simulated in the bullpen before the game until the weather warms up?? And what was the deal with the Dolis Base on Balls???

    • Cedlandrum

      Dolis Base on Balls? You must not have followed him in the minors. He has GREAT stuff, but he is going to walk guys at times because his ball moves so much. Last night was a great example. He was 93-95 with a ton of sinking action, but the ball was low a ton. The good news is that he is hard to square up so he doesn’t give up much. The bad is that the will walk guys.

      • FromFenwayPahk

        Thanks. Not only did I not see him in the minors, I didn’t see him last night. I just saw it in last night’s box score and it kind of jumped out at me.

        • Cedlandrum

          He will do that from time to time. He will also go on a run at some part of the season where he doesn’t walk anyone and they don’t hit him because his stuff is that good. He has a very bright future ahead of him.

          • hansman1982

            So…he is what Marmol was 3-4 years ago?

            • Cedlandrum

              Yes, in some ways but they are very different style of pitcher. Dolis pitches to contact and Marmol obviously tries to strike everyone out.

        • DocPWimsey

          The Hendry regime’s disinterest in walks worked both ways: it’s not just that they drafted batters with no batting eye, but control took a back seat to “stuff” for the pitchers. So, a lot of the Cubs young arms throw the ball really well, but they do not pitch the ball really well, just like so many of the young position players hit the ball well but do not bat well. Dollis fits in with this.

  • RY34

    Agree 100% on going down looking, horrible. Marlon Byrd is absolutely pathetic and I bet Randy Wells is off in a corner somewhere laughing hysterically at the way Volstad and especially Maholm pitched in their starts. No guarantee that Randy would have done any better but he probably sure as heck would not have done any worse than Maholm. The Cards lit Gallardo up in his first start, I have no doubt he bounces back and dominates us today.

    • CubFan Paul

      The excellence that is randy wells has an era over 5

    • Andrew

      If you have seen what Wells has done in Iowa, I’m not so sure he would have fared much better than Volstad, who in the end only gave up 3 and were tied when he left. I don’t know about Maholm but I liked Volstads stuff and I wouldn’t be surprised if he turned it around in his next outing.

      • Cedlandrum

        Well the PCL is well known for inflating era’s. So I will hold judgement for now on Wells ERA.

        • CubFan Paul

          Inflated eras for a guy with 3 years of major league pitching experience?

          • Cedlandrum

            2 things: First: Sample size is very important. He has thrown in two games, so no need to freak about his era.

            Second: Go look at his other numbers. .186 BAA 2:1 SO/BB and his Whip is 0.92. It isn’t like he is getting smacked around the park. In his last outing he gave up 6 hits and 4 runs. He didn’t walk anyone. So he has been a bit unlucky.

            If you don’t believe the inflated ERA’s look at almost any pitcher in the PCL last year. The league has been very hitter friendly.

            • Andrew

              I’m not freaking about anybody that is healthy just yet. I was just responding to the notion that Volstad and Maholm have proven that sending wells down was the wrong decision. The games have only just begun so there’s no need to talk about bringing Wells back up just yet. I’ll hold my judgement until there have been at least 5 starts of each player. All these players have been here before so lets wait before we call for people’s heads.

            • Kyle

              Look at the other, other numbers.

              Two home runs and 7 Ks in 12 innings are particularly unimpressive peripherals for a guy who should be outclassing the level.

              It’s only two starts, but those two starts have shown absolutely nothing that says he should be in a major league rotation.

              • Cedlandrum

                You ever see Randy Wells pitch? He isn’t a strike out pitcher. He is actually trying to get guys to make contact and get themselves out. That is great unless balls fly out of the park at great ease. You want to have fun go look at the batting average of the ICubs players and tell me it isn’t a hitters league.

                I mean I guess I get it, his ERA doesn’t look great, but have some perspective.

                • Kyle

                  All pitchers are strikeout pitchers. You cannot be an effective major league pitcher for any length of time if you allow every batter to make contact.

                  inlikeaninjab4 someone who doesn’t know what they are talking about references Maddux…

                  Of course the PCL is an extreme hitter’s league. And two starts aren’t the final say on his season by any means. But that doesn’t change the fact that Randy Wells has shown absolutely nothing in those two starts to say that he should be in the MLB rotation. Heck, if the wind hadn’t been blowing in pretty hard in the first one, we’d be talking about at least four homers instead of two.

                  • Cedlandrum

                    And now this conversation is over because you have shown to know nothing about baseball or you are just trying to be a douche.

                    • Kyle

                      “I’m going to bow out now because the cliches my little league coach taught me are being crushed by facts.”

                      See, *now* I’m being a douche. When I’m simply making a point, that’s not douchey. But I’m certainly capable of it, and when I am I’ll make sure it’s obvious.

                  • hansman1982

                    No, the wind wasn’t ” blowing in pretty hard” in the first one. The flag in CF spent half the game doing nothing.

                    • Kyle

                      The Iowa PBP guys twice insisted that Wells got fly ball outs on balls that would have been home runs on a different day.

                      They could have been wrong, because I wasn’t there to see the wind for myself, but that’s what they said.

                  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

                    All pitchers are strikeout pitchers?
                    I guess, literally, since every pitchers strikes a few guys out?

                    • DocPWimsey

                      I might be misinterpreting, but I think that Kyle’s point is that all pitchers have to strike out a fair portion of batters to survive. Beyond GB:FB ratios, there just is not a huge difference in what batted balls do off of different pitchers. If you don’t miss bats, then the ball goes into play: and at that point lots of bad things can happen for pitchers.

                      This is why GB pitchers have become prized. Yes, they give up just as many hits, but they are singles. Still, if you don’t K a few guys, then the other team will get an inning where enough GBs get through (or one gets drilled down the line for a double), and runs score.

                    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

                      I get that…but a pitcher that K’s 10 per 9 innings is a strikeout pitcher.
                      A pitcher that K’s 6 per 9 innings, isn’t not so much a strikeout pitcher….but can still be effective.

                    • DocPWimsey

                      He can be on average, but the variance will be much higher. Three batters, 3 ground balls will be 1-2-3 inning 40% of the time. Three batters, 2 GB and 1 K is a 1-2-3- inning nearly 60% of the time.

                      So, a pitcher can really reduce his “inconsistency” by K’ing guys at a decent rate.

                      The flip-side is that “contact” pitchers do not require as many pitches per inning, and thus can go deeper into the game. One trait of playoff teams is that they use their bullpens a lot less than other teams: and GBs help that a lot.

            • DocPWimsey

              The sample size issue cuts both ways. If we are not going to worry about Wells’ poor numbers in a small sample size, then we are not going to worry about Volstad’s and Maholm’s poor numbers in a small sample size. If we look at the large sample sizes that will predict future performance, then Wells’ GB:FB ratio compared to Volstad’s & Maholm’s GB:FB ratios are what tell the tale. One should not even use the idea of flyballs in cold April being a “good” thing: as the Brewers showed last night, if you hit enough of them, then some will go out, and if you hit more than the other team, then you win 3 times in 4.

              • Cedlandrum

                Oh well reason is finally setting in.

  • Steve

    I think this season is about hitting rock bottom. It’s a common thought…. that you are not going to get better, in many aspects, health, career, love etc etc until you do so.
    So, let’s do that. Lets just get all out there and lets embrace it. We are in for a total rebuild. Instead of the patchwork program we’ve been middling around with for, oh, the last 100 years or so.
    Let’s reserve ourselves to this and take our lumps. Better days are ahead. So I’ll watch, listen, and talk about it until it arrives. We have Rizzo, Jackson, and Castro… everyone else is not a part of the end equation which is a winner.
    Now, passs me a beer and lets play ball!

  • RY34

    my bad on wells, did not do my homework on what he has done thus far at iowa!

  • Spencer

    This is slightly unrelated since he didn’t pitch in this game, but I think that Corpas should be in the pen instead of, say, Camp or even Castillo even though he’s a Rule Fiver.

  • czechxican

    I don’t like the way Maholm throws the ball. I mean, it’s like he’s “pushing” the ball on his release point or he’s trying to generate all this arm speed, then pull his arm back at the end. It’s strange looking and apparently, doesn’t hide the ball either.

    Anyone else notice this?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yes. Noticed it, and it freaked me out. Mostly because he wasn’t doing it on every pitch. That kind of inconsistently in your delivery – from a six year vet – is unnerving. Big post on Maholm coming in a little bit.

  • Kyle

    “All pitchers are strikeout pitchers?
    I guess, literally, since every pitchers strikes a few guys out?”

    Basically, yes. Strikeouts are good for all types of pitchers. Some can succeed with lower strikeouts rates because they do a bunch of other things well (avoid walks, avoid home runs, get ground balls), but even those guys have to strike out some guys, and they tend to do better when they strike out more and worse when they strike out fewer.

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