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Whew. It’s nice to win on Opening Day.

Jeff Samardzija was simply absurd today. Amped up and clearly overthrowing in the first, Samardzija settled down, and then grooved the Pirates all day long. Carlos Marmol did as Carlos Marmol does in the 9th, and actually got himself yanked from a three-run save opportunity after having no idea where the ball was going (except for the well-struck RBI single he gave up). In the span of just 19 pitches (10 balls), he (1) made himself completely untradable; and (2) made it very easy to forget just how good he was from late-May on last year. Fortunately James Russell and Kyuji Fujikawa stemmed the bleeding by simply throwing strikes and letting the Pirates hit the ball. Imagine that.

The Cubs’ big damage came in the first after Starlin Castro singled on a ball he had no business getting good wood on (it’s what he does), and Anthony Rizzo hit a 450+ foot bomb on the first pitch he saw (it’s what he does/RizzOMG). If you’re looking for the upside in the 2013 Chicago Cubs’ offense, that’s it right there.

Welington Castillo twice doubled to right field on a hit and run with Nate Schierholtz going in front of him. The first time, Schierholtz was held at third, and was stranded when Luis Valbuena and Brent Lillibridge struck out, and Jeff Samardzija grounded out. The second time around, the Cubs didn’t make that mistake, sending Schierholtz, who scored on the double. Castillo, however, was caught in a rundown when he tried to stretch his double into a 2.5-bagger, a mythical type of hit that doesn’t actually exist – it’s one or the other, Welly.

Nate Schierholtz reached based all four times he was up today, and he did it in four different ways: a walk, a HBP, a single, and an error. Brent Lillibridge had an inauspicious debut as Darwin Barney’s replacement: three strikeouts in three at bats, and a boot in the field. At least he did make one nice diving play.

Cubs win!

april 1 box


  • Believe in 2015

    Great win today! What to do with Marmol now?

    • DarthHater

      Could always try encouraging him to engage in some reckless activity that would void his contract? 😀

    • Fishin Phil

      Convert him back to catcher, then send him back to the Dominican Summer League.

    • Noah

      We’ve got to give him more than one game, whether we like it or not.

      Although, honestly, if I were a manager I’d be tempted just to tell my hitters to not swing at anything against Marmol. I’d just be curious from an experimental standpoint if he is physically capable of throwing 3 strikes before throwing 4 balls.

      • kevin

        We’ve given him more than one game for the last couple of years!

        • Noah

          I’m just saying this because Marmol is much more tradeable mid-season if he posts his second half numbers from last year (1.52 ERA, 2.72 FIP, 3.32 xFIP) as opposed to the first half numbers or 2011 numbers. The leash should be short, and you should always be ready to put Fujikawa, Russell or Camp in if possible and needed, but I think you need to give it a couple of weeks to see if he can get right. Or at least as close as Marmol ever gets to right.

          • EQ76

            Let’s all maybe stop overreacting so much.. Marmol is streaky. When he’s on, he’s un-hittable, when he’s off, he can’t throw a strike. He was great for a couple years, and he was really solid the 2nd half of last year. Problem is, he shouldn’t be our closer if he’s not going to ever show consistency.

            • Dale’s Ear

              Asking Cub fans to stop over-reacting is like asking Moreland to shut up… it’s pointless and you’re just going to upset someone

      • George

        That’s exactly what they are doing.You have to totally take him out of any pressure packed 1,2,3 run lead games,he can’t handle pressure at all.I don’t even think u can use him in the 8th with a 3 run lead . Use him in the 7th were there isn’t as much pressure as the 8th & 9th, are you listening theo, dale??

  • Cubbie Blues

    Shark continued to show Ace stuff and Mormal … well, didn’t.

  • Spencer

    Shark was amazing.

  • Brian

    “Mythical 2.5 bagger”… I lol’d hard!

    • Wilbur

      That was worth the read …

  • Noah

    46.3% of the outs in this game were accomplished via the strikeout.

    And I really already dislike Brent Lillibridge. I knew I would, so I’m trying to avoid the bias as much as possible, but I just can’t here.

    • Danny Ballgame

      Seriously, you have to do something decently

      • BT

        This can’t be overstated. The man has to do something right in order to belong. He is eminently replaceable.

        • waittilthisyear

          o, man, i’m glad someone else said it. i was going to keep it to myself, but this lillibridge cat is just the worst. he is such a little bitch, which is not necessarily a problem by itself, but combined with his play just makes me hate him so much. when valbuena and him k’d w/scheir and welly on 2nd and 3rd, i wanted to poo my pants.

          • DarthHater

            But instead you flung feces at this comment board. Nice choice.

            • waittilthisyear

              did it stick?

  • wvcubsfan

    BluBlood should be here soon to tell us how lucky it was that Schierholtz got on base four times.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      heh, true: but, then, it was a lucky day for Ted Williams or Barry Bonds to get on base 4 times, too. (Just a lot less lucky!)

    • Blublud

      I will tell any time that Nate Schierholtz gets on base 4 times, it is extremely lucky. So lucky, that I would be willing to bet he doesn’t do it again before the all-star, and that if he does it again the rest of the year. By friday, don’t be suprised if the guy is 5-16 on the season. I don’t know who I hope is gone first, him or Lillibridge.

      • waittilthisyear

        5-16 ain’t bad…

        • BluBlud

          I meant to say he reached base in 16 Plate apperance. in other words, he’ll be 1 for his next 11, or something like it.

          • BluBlud

            1 for his next 12.

  • I like stuff

    Great! Now the Cubs still have a chance at and undefeated season.

  • David

    I mean… We couldn’t pay 100% of his contract and give him to a team for free? i mean.. that makes them worse and us better, soo….

  • http://Ehanauer.com Clark Addison

    Do we play to trade Marmol or play to win?

    If it’s winning we’re after he pitches the 6th inning in blowouts.

  • King Jeff

    I really hate the day off after opening day. Understand the need for it, but hate it.

    • Noah

      Well, at least it guarantees us at least two calendar days in first place.

    • TWC

      Hate hate hate it.

    • CubsFanBob

      long as we win I can deal with the off day after opening day but a lost makes it suck far more…

  • Brian


    Where do you get your box scores from? They’re very neat and tidy and quickly available until you add the much needed commentary.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      They’re modified versions of the ones on MLB.com/Cubs.com.

  • Kyle N

    Cubs win! Let the incredibly over-the-top, knee-jerk, small sample size-based arguments commence.

    It’s always easy to talk about the things that aren’t ready for Opening day. The Carlos Marmol roller coaster however, was immediately operational and and running at maximum terror to start the year.

    • another JP

      Nice “compliment”. Totally expected coming from you.

      • Kyle N

        Not the “Kyle” you’re thinking of. Looks like a name change is in order. Possibly to “Not THAT Kyle.”

        • Jono

          That would be a good idea

        • another JP

          I’ll let you use “another Kyle” if you want. No license fee required.

        • Cyranojoe


  • Zogie

    Cubs Win! It was a well-played game by the cubbies and hopefully this is a sign of a bright future. Stealing the show, Jeff Samardzija was lights out today. 8IP, 2H, 0R, 1BB, 9Ks. Very little solid contact. For the bullpen, Marmol was his usual self with very little command, but the cubbies now have a plan B. Russell and Fujikawa came in the game throwing strikes and finished off the stressful 9th. Offensively and defensively, Castro and Rizzo stole the show. Both played excellently today. Honorable mentions have to go to Nate Schierholtz and Welington Castillo. Schierholtz looks like a complete hitter which the cubs were missing last season in the middle of the order. He sees a lot of pitches and never tries to do too much. He brings good defense and patience and vision at the plate. Castillo did a good job with the hit-n-run smacking two opposite field doubles. On the bad side of things, 15 K’s. Soriano will need a few games to get going, Lillibridge looks like a .196 hitter, and Valbuena did not look comfortable. DeJesus went 0-4 2K but he was taking pitches and working counts. Lastly, my shout out goes to “The Shark.” One of the best opening day pitching performances on the day. I will be doing these detailed reports as much as possible throughout the season.

    • another JP

      Agreed on all counts and is only one game- but the way Sveum yanked Marmol and didn’t allow the game to get away was a great development. Great pitching and defense will do us a world of good this year… but then again it’s against the Pirates. EJax might very well have a good day against them too.

      • True(ly) Blue

        I would only pitch Marmol in blowout games, (up or down) and yank him if he hits or walks a single batter. Sveum was close today, yanking him after a hit batter and a walk.
        If he can’t throw throw 3 out of 5 pitches for strikes what good is he?????? Can he be sent down to learn the strike zone?

        • Rich H

          I would see a mythical “lower back problem” in his future.

    • TWC

      Zogie! Welcome back, man! I’ve missed your input.

      • Zogie

        Good to be back! Opening Day brings more than just baseball.

        • #1lahairfan

          Where have you been this offseason?

  • CBP

    Well atleast we are in first place for 1 day

  • http://Bleachernation Loyal100more

    Marmol makes my hair fall out!! Shark looked great.., man 25 strikeouts in this game! And like a lot of cub fans, I want a look at Watkins at 2nd, and lake at 3rd.

    • wvcubsfan

      **Marmol makes my hair fall out**

      When I read that I immediately thought of the country song “tequila makes her clothes fall off”. Should try to come up with lyrics for a spoof with the above title.

  • http://Bleachernation Loyal100more

    Shark threw 110 pitches today but looked strong though 8 innings of work.

  • daveyrosello

    Screw it, the Cubs are under budget for 2013. Just waive Marmol, it’s addition by subtraction. Let someone else deal with his issues.

  • Dan

    Thank God for Marmol or this would have just been a boring win lol

  • MightyBear

    Oh the Shark bites, with his teeth yeah. Theo and the boys better get that extension signed soon or its going to be a lot bigger.

    • Danny Ballgame

      Easy Satchmo

      • MightyBear

        Bobby Darin

        • Danny Ballgame

          I’m a more of a Louie fan myself. Nawleans jazz

  • StupidMarmol

    So glad they took him out of the game….Ridiculous can’t stand him anymore. Pitch him in the 7th or 8th…..Scratch that, you know what pay a team double his salary to take him and don’t worry about getting anything in return. It would be a good idea.

    How hard is it to throw a pitch right down the middle you idiot. I don’t care if they hit it out of the ballpark. You have to throw strikes.

  • http://Bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Gotta love the fact that Shark, Castro, Rizzo, and Castillo where the main contributors today. No over the top reaction here but it’s definitely good to see guys that should be around when we will be contending making the difference.

    • MightyBear

      Agreed – I thought the same thing.

  • another JP

    LMAO- flipped to the WSox/Royals game and after only one minute of viewing Hawk unleased the word “scaredest”. No shit… the dude would be better doing stand-up.

  • Noah

    I just checked Samardzija’s numbers… and on top of the 9 Ks and 1 walk he also had a ground ball percentage of 72.2%. Although FanGraphs is showing his FIP and XFIP in the mid to high 3’s, so I don’t think that’s quite calibrated correctly yet.

  • roz

    Is Wellington Castillo’s nickname officially “Beef” yet?

  • North Side Irish

    The Cubs Facebook Twitter feed is just crushing it today…

  • myporsche

    Kudos to marmol for trying to sabotage samardzijas firzt start of the season. Again…

  • Bric

    This win felt so good because after the last 5 years of Hendry at least we can just sit back and enjoy the game without waiting for an implosion, explosion, or somehow other awful end (either in the game or in the news afterward) to what is supposed to be a pleasant leisurely activity of watching a baseball game. No huge hopes, questionable methods or over hyped predictions- just a nice win. Now if only Marmol would go away…

    • Brady

      A late inning PH grand slam! Alright we got this…. and then Marmol goes and gives one right back in like the bottom of 8. Yea those games are the worst!

  • Timothy Scarbrough

    That’s it. The Cubs and the Astros are destined to finish 162-0 with MVPs of Rick Ankiel and Rizzo. Woot!

  • http://Bleachernation Loyal100more

    I really do believe it’s time to cut ties with marmol…after all we pretty much gave away big Z and nobody seems to be to bumed about how that’s going. Marmols “percieved” value isn’t there according to the Rest of the teams in baseball, and the cubs need to wake up and see the same… Id be more content to watch ANYONE else blow it!

    • Bric

      That’s exactly what I’m talking about. These guys aren’t splitting the atom, they’re just throwing the ball, catching the ball, and hitting the ball. It’s not that difficult. The Marlins and Rays have both figured it out with about 90 years less experience. No more drama. I don’t want hear anymore about Marmol having to buy a case of wine any time he shakes off the catcher. This isn’t high school and it’s not a circus sideshow either. How about if he shakes of a pitch, bench him. These guys are highly paid professionals expected to do their job. Either act like it or get them the F out. Hendry’s not here anymore to defend your juvenile antics and statements. You’ll always be a “lovable loser” if you continue to act like it.

      • DarthHater

        You’ll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes.

        • Dale’s Ear

          Marmol forgot to breathe out of his eyelids…

          • cjdubbya

            The rose goes in front, right?

  • DarthHater


    • MightyBear

      Good meme!