A pitching switcharoo this weekend: Matt Garza, who was scheduled to go today, will now pitch tomorrow, assuming he’s over a little bout of “feeling icky.” Chris Volstad will go instead today, which will be normal rest for him.
- Paul Maholm was great for the third straight start yesterday, and he’s part of a larger trend – over the past 12 games, the Cubs’ ERA is just 2.40. The team is 7-5 over that stretch, which is swell, but, when you think about that ERA, the Cubs should probably be even better. The only starting pitcher who hasn’t really joined the fun is the guy going today. I keep waiting for Volstad to have a great start. I feel like it’s coming, but this Dodger lineup is a tough one to do it to.
- On booting Carlos Marmol from the closer’s role, Dale Sveum says Marmol was “fine with it,” and knows that he’ll still see some action. “I just told Marmol be ready to pitch at any time,” Sveum said. “It just got to that point to where we have to get him productive in some role. He was fine with it and understood. Hopefully, we can get him going and give him another chance.” Still wouldn’t mind seeing him have a head-clearing DL stint, but whatever.
- On the possibility that Marmol could earn his closer job back, Sveum said it could happen. “He knows he has to get better and find it,” Sveum said. “I left that window open for him. If he starts pitching well and getting command back and stuff like that, there’s no reason I wouldn’t put him back in the closing role if he finds it again.”
- Bruce Levine says the reason for Marmol’s struggles is overuse from 2008 to 2011 (when Marmol was the most used pitcher in baseball). I’m sure that’s right – we all saw the velocity dip last year, and the bite on the slider tail off. It wasn’t an “injury,” but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a physical issue. And, although the velocity is back this year, the slider is not. So Marmol’s gotta learn to use his fastball effectively, or he can’t even be a useful middle reliever, let alone a closer.
- Dale Sveum addressed his first ever ejection (he argued balls and strikes in the 9th yesterday after an abysmal call that went against Rafael Dolis) in typical Dale style: “Just asking questions. Asked the wrong one.” Next time, argue a terrible call on the base paths in the early innings so you’ve at least got the chance of a make up call. And then give us a sexier quote after the game.
- Scout’s Chris Emma interviews Gerardo Concepcion, as well as those around him, about the pitcher’s adjustment to the States.