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.
  • CubFanBob

    I got a good feeling about today’s game.

  • Stan

    Does anyone know his percentage of fastballs over the past year? It’s gotta be less than 20%…

    • SirCub

      He is pretty close to 50/50 over his career, favoring throwing sliders over fastballs by 4-5%. But last year he went just ridiculous and threw only 36% fastballs to 64% sliders. So far this year he has thrown 46% percent fastballs to 54% sliders.

  • ColoCubFan

    Not really sure why, but I got a good little snicker out of Dale’s remark about asked the wrong question.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cubman87 Leroy Kleimola

    That game should have been over, without the “hit by pitch” that didn’t happen.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com ichabod

    how the hell would going on the dl be productive for a guy who is scared to fail and has obviously lost his confidence, “hey bud, we know your not hurt but you are” theres another kick to that fragile psyche. dont get it twisted, love that hes not the guy anymore, but i think support from your team can go a long way toward him being productive in another role, maybe. i know the arguments for the kids to come up but this front office is on a snail pace pimp strut in that regard. todays breakfast: razorweed onion with peacock squirrel.?

  • ColoCubFan

    I’m probably going to open a can of worms here, but I’m going to get it off my chest.
    I have not been impressed with Larry Rothschild as a pitching coach. I have no doubt that he knows how to instruct pitchers about how to pitch better. But he seems to leave a trail of young pitchers that he allowed to be worn out. Prior, Wood, Marmol?
    I know he’s not the manager, but it seems that he should be able to get across to the mgr. that these guys will never pitch at age 30 if we wear them out before they’re 25.
    Just my 2 cents worth.

    • Bails17

      Rothschild is not to blame for any of those guys issues…..you have to understand that all of these guys had success in the minor leagues that got them to the big leagues…but they ALL had mechanical issues as well that no pitching coach will (or will be allowed to) fix or overhaul.

      With Prior…it was his arm action…he had the inverted W that caused a ton of pressure on the front side of his shoulder and elbow and it was just a matter of time before he would break down.

      Woody uses very little to zero bottom half…throws all arm….thus more pressure on the arm. Again, it was only a matter of time before he would break down.

      Marmol is a bit of a different cat. His issues are him flying open and being pretty much out of control. When the front side flies open so violently, it makes it very difficult to have a consistent release point.

      But here’s the thing with professional baseball. No coach is going to risk his job by going in and “change” a guys mechanics and throwing motion. If they make changes in guys like that and it does not pan out…they get the hook. For the most part..pitching coaches in pro ball make minor changes here and there, and then talk the mental part of the game. That’s it. They are too afraid to lose their job over a big time prospect getting hurt. If they don’t change them…then it’s not their fault.

      • Kyle

        I’m still pretty skeptical on that “inverted W” theory. Every great power pitcher in history had an inverted W, including some hyperdurable ones like Nolan Ryan.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Yeah, I agree.  For any pitching motion, you can find guys who did and did not have arm problems.  However, people cherry-pick to prove their point.  The reality is that the best pitching motion is none at all: i.e., don’t throw more pitches than necessary!  Freaks like Ryan disprove the idea no more than the 90 year old cancer-free chain-smoker disproves the correlation between smoking and cancer.

          • Bails17

            I would challenge both of you to find me a picture of Nolan Ryan in the inverted W position. He NEVER was in that position in his career. This is not a theory…there are proven studies that show the pressure this position (and others) puts on the throwing arm.

            • ferrets_bueller


              There are quite a few false claims of players having an inverted W, and they originate from people who have no idea what they’re talking about.

              Anyone who would say that has absolutely no idea what an inverted W.  At all.  At its most basic level, the main requirement is elbows over shoulders (but thats at an absurdly basic level, much more to it)


              the highest his elbow ever got was slightly below shoulder level, he didn’t turn his arm inside out.

              • Kyle

                I stand quite corrected. Thanks, guys!

                • ferrets_bueller

                  My guess would be that you were thinking of/confusing it with the term ‘scapular loading.’  Which is sometimes incorrectly used as a synonym.

                  Scapular loading is something pretty much every power pitcher has done (arms back, sticking out the chest), which results in a ‘W’ of some sort.  The problem is when you scapular load, and combine it with raised elbows, creating an inverted W.

                  • Bails17

                    Well said Ferrets…thanks for the pics!!

  • CubFan Paul

    ..there’s no link to the Concepcion interview

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, Paul. Fixed.

  • Idaho Razorback

    Brett, are you gonna put up a link to your interview yesterday with Julie?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Ah, yes – Have to see if there’s a replay. Thanks.

      • Katie

        Yes, we all want to hear the banana hammock reference!

  • MaxM1908

    Joe Mather starting today in CF. C’mon Joe. Prove to them that you need more playing time.

    • Mrp

      Big fan of Super Joe’s hot bat in the lineup today. Today is the day that Volstad gets a W!

      • MaxM1908

        I think the real test will be how Volstad performs through the first time through the line-up. In past games he seemed to get rocked early and then settle down into a routine. If he can come out in the groove and sit down five or six in a row, I’d start feeling really good about the day.

  • MaxM1908

    Also, it looks like Wood is in town in case Garza can’t go tomorrow. That’s quite a scary proposition. I guess we had better win today to ensure the series win.

  • Chris

    Marmol’s appearances should be limited to intentional walks.

  • Spencer

    who will pitch tomorrow if garza is still ill?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      T. Wood.

      • Spencer

        that will require a roster move though…Marmol?

        • Blitzenjohn

          A retro DL for Castillo isn’t a bad option, either.

  • Can’t think of a cool name

    “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. ”

    Here’s why:
    #5 Hitter-Soriano, OBP .287, OPS, .602 (even after 3 hits and 2 BB yesterday), OPS+ 70
    #6 Hitter-Stewart, OBP .253, OPS .553, OPS+ 55
    #7 Hitter-Barney, OBP .289, OPS .637, OPS+ 79
    #8 Hitter-Soto, OBP .253, OPS .541, OPS+ 51
    #9 Pitcher

    Campana and Stewart also have an OPS less than 100 but at lease its close.

    Murder’s Row we aint.