The Stache was revelatory once again (can you be revelatory more than once?), holding down a very good Reds lineup deep into the game. He was so efficient that, when it came time to bring in a reliever to blow the game in the 9th, Villanueva was still well shy of 100 pitches, so he started the inning. Unfortunately Villanueva walked the leadoff man, and was yanked in favor of Carlos Marmol after a sacrifice bunt saw the tying run reach second base. Naturally, that run crossed the plate when Marmol gave up a single to Joey Votto.

I didn’t have a beef with Sveum going to the pen when he did, but I do take issue with bringing in Marmol. Yes, he’s been dominant against Votto, but he also threw almost 30 pitches last night. It felt like a mistake from the moment Dale lifted his arm, and the results bore it out.

Fortunately for Sveum, Darwin Barney and Dave Sappelt bailed the Cubs out in the 10th. The media will still be unkind and the interviews uncomfortable, but it would have been far worse if the Cubs had lost.

Cody Ransom leapt immediately into the hearts of Cubs fans with a solo homer on the first pitch he saw, which he later followed up with a double. He also made some great plays at third base (together with an error, but whateves), and has been named the unlikely irrational love successor to Tony Campana.

april 23 box

  • Seth

    I am really liking Borbon off the bench. He’s a great weapon to use.

    • Kenster


  • Luke

    I present Marmol’s line in this game as Exhibit A for why Wins make absolutely no sense as a pitching stat.

    He nearly lost the game. And gets the W. Ridiculous.

    • Caleb

      I go along with W/L being very not-valuable for relievers, but I still think they have at least some value with starters.

      Not a lot, but some.

      • Luke

        Sure. And roadkill has some value to interior decorators.

        I’d say the amount of value is about the same in both cases.

        • Pat

          Yeah, because if a measurement has flaws it makes it worthless.

          • A.J.


        • A.J.

          Tell me this wouldn’t be a badass addition to a man cave…

        • Caleb

          Yeah, but last year Felix Hernandez had 13 wins, tied for 34th best starting pitcher.

          That sounds about right, right?

          Haha–but seriously, I was reading various articles on advanced stats (I like WHIP, FIP, and WAR), and you know what seems to be the most underrated? Innings pitched per outing. The best pitchers go the deepest into games.

          • Pat

            Why not look at his career numbers in comparison. To say wins are meaningless as a statistic is as ignorant as saying they mean everything.

      • X The Cubs Fan

        Didn’t James Russel lead the team in W’s last year

    • Andrew

      while i agree, I don’t think any legit old school guys point to relievers w-l records to prove they are good. I think this game is a great reason why ERA is overrated for relievers though. Marmol not getting charged a run tonight and Russell not getting charged for a run last night shows relievers are truly very difficult to find good stats for.

    • waittilthisyear

      marmol leads the team in wins. le sigh

  • JulioZuleta

    Lots of good things. Brett, I think you jinxed Rizzo.

    Man, I think Cubs fans might be enduring the worst year of beat reporting of all time. Maybe I’m missing some good guys, but the few I do follow are just absolutely useless. Don’t ever leave us Brett…

  • MightyBear

    Good EBS. Funny. The Cubs are going to win tomorrow and go on a tear winning 7 in a row. Look out, here we come!

  • Coal

    Can you please not write anything positive about Rizzo’s hitting ever again? Promise?

    • Brett

      Cross my heart and hope to die.

  • Mrp

    Wait, so we won? But, where did the, “Cubs get fucked”, inning go?

    • wax_eagle

      it was scheduled for the 11th tonight.

  • hardtop

    ha, great box score!

    will that purple highlighter ever run out?

    • Brett

      Sometimes it’s red …

  • HoustonTransplant

    I like Ransom. He’s scrappy and plays with fire in his belly. We need 25 Ransoms.

    (He did have a pretty good game tonight, though.)

  • Spencer

    I’m not upset at Marmol at all, though he is sure to get blasted for having another BS. Sveum is EXTREMELY fortunate that the Cubs won tonight; that 9th inning was about as mismanaged as you can get – and I defended him today in the job security post.

    I think Stache should have been given the opportunity to win or lose the game himself. He pitched well enough to EARN that opportunity from his manager. That the first issue. Then, going to Marmol, issue number two. James Russell would’ve been a better option, I think, particularly given the boner that Sveum has for L-L, R-R match ups…but he went with Marmol because Votto was 1-15 against Marmol. And 15 AB’s is virtually meaningless. That’s like sending a guy down to AAA after 4 games to start the season because apparently that’s enough to make a decision about him.

    Plus, what happened to all that talk about keeping Marmol out of high pressure situations? That lasted all of two weeks.

    • Rebuilding

      Absolutely right

    • Andrew

      1-15 with 9 strikeouts Marmol has Votto’s number for whatever reason. Also Votto vs. Russell is 2-6 with 2 doubles and a walk so there is little statistical evidence that Russell would be the better option.

      The best argument I can see is simply keeping Villanueva in and walking Votto. Villanueva has given every indication that he is the best possible pitcher that could have pitched so there is no reason to take him out. All in all I think Sveum did not make a bad decision but obviously hindsight is 20/20. Who knows maybe Votto hits a HR against Russell or Villanueva and Sveum is still wrong.

      • Rebuilding

        Samples that small are completely meaningless. Those are numbers sports announcers think mean something, not a progessive management team. Totally random chance. Like I said earlier, if Sveum is making decisions based on those numbers then we have a big problem

        • demz

          I was not happy when i saw that he was taking Villanueva out and not even bothering to intentionally walk Votto.

          Votto is Votto and can hurt you, even if he is 1-15 against a certain pitcher. Glad they won today but my confidence in Sveum is dwindling.

        • Kyle

          Well, that’s just the thing. They aren’t *completely* meaningless. They just aren’t likely conclusive.

          But for a manager making a decision where a number of options are defensible and closely bunched in terms of likely result, using something that is merely lightly suggestive is perfectly defensible itself.

    • mysterious4th

      I agree he should have had the chance given how efficent he was and has been so far. Add to that the bullpen can’t hold a lead worth a crap, he should have let him go further!

  • Matt D

    here’s a question…where has Rondon been lately? He’s pitched pretty well when given the chance but it seems they are just burying him in the pen again. Would have much rather seen him then a tired Marmol…

    • #1lahairfan

      I know.

  • Kenster

    Im liking the stolen bases and the small ball in the 2nd!! Sveums bullpen decisions on the other hand… not so much…
    On another note Ransom played well to stick a little longer i think and im digging borbon seems like he can be a nice player for this team

    • DocPeterWimsey

      ? There were no bunts or ground ball advancings that inning. The run scored on a SF. (SF are not small ball: given the same OBP, the team with higher slugging should get more SF than the team with lower slugging.)

      • Kenster

        how about an easy single then stealing 2 bases and smart hitting by hairston to get the ball in the air to give the runner a chance to score???
        Cubs don’t steal like that it was nice to see

  • willis

    Great win. Villanueva makes me happy.

    Clutch hitting late two nights in a row is kind of weird. Let’s see if this can churn up some momentum.

  • Diamondrock

    I’m so glad I can go to bed well before midnight tonight, and happy.

  • willis

    Fun is over, Garza hurt again with a “dead arm” which is convenient to say he’s had another set back. Fuck.

  • waittilthisyear

    this is a bit off topic, but based on previous comments, it is my understanding that some of the adverts on this page are based off of previous searches/traffic. my girlfriend and i share this (read: my) computer. should i be alarmed about all these advertisements? this chick just got buuuuuuusted

  • willis

    Screw pen sessions the guy needs game action. And he just can’t seem to get there. I think it’s time to forget about him coming back anytime soon.

  • DPRagen

    Carlos Marmol could give a statue ulcers!

  • JulioZuleta

    Weird night in Cubs baseball. Soriano steals 2 bags, Cody Ransom hits a HR, Carlos Marmol gets the win, Kevin Gregg gets the save, and Starlin Castro and Javier Baez each draw walks.

    • Seth

      And on the other hand of things, Garza has another setback.

    • Cedlandrum

      don’t forget the Barney home run

      • Alex S

        Or the hit with a runner in scoring position by Sappelt

  • caryatid62

    Garza scratched from Wednesday start with “dead arm.”

    I think that about does it for him. Move along, nothing to see here.

    • willis

      By the time he gets back (if he does) it’ll be almost a year since he last pitched. Unbelievable how this injury has burdened him this long. Once you get hurt, you don’t come back if you wear a cubs uniform.

    • #1lahairfan

      Happens all the time in spring training.

    • Kyle

      Well, the good feelings lasted like an hour.

      • JulioZuleta

        May have been the most predictable post ever.

  • cubmig

    Did we just win a way to the Play-off?

  • Rich

    Gotta sit Rizzo tomm
    Garza thing is getting weird

  • Rebuilding

    It’s early and Wood and/or Villanueva may just be riding hot streaks, but a Smardzija/Garza/Jackson/Wood/Villanueva rotation is looking very good. Even if we flip Villanueva and Appel or Gray becomes your #5 that is a nice rotation. Strangely, given all of the worry over the arms in the organization, it’s really our strength right now (at least at the MLB level).

    • willis

      If we ever see Garza again in a Cubs uniform. This injury has derailed him like crazy. So Cub of him to feel shitty right before his firs real game action. It sucks because I love his arm and intensity. But this can’t be a good thing.

  • Joey Drees

    I was at this game tonight, and it was a great one to be at (until the 9th). I personally agree that Stache should’ve been given the chance to win or lose this game. He’s pitched great in all four outings, and has the bullpen to blame for his 1-0 record (meaningless stat, I know, but it’s gotta be frustrating for him). Being the classy guy he is, I’m sure he’ll have a great quote saying it’s all about the team winning, but you gotta think he’s pretty fed up to not have a 4-0 record with his ~1.2 ERA. The guy has been lights out so far. Let’s hope he can keep it up.

  • Rebuilding

    Villanueva is making himself a ton of money right now. Given the lack of other options on the FA market next offseason is it possible we try to extend him? He’s 29 but he doesn’t have a ton of miles on his arm (not nearly as many as Jackson). Unfortunately, I think this FO will say no

    • JulioZuleta

      Not sure if you’re referring to “next offseason” as this upcoming one, or the one after that (I assume you mean this one coming up), but he’s on a two year deal. The Cubs have control next year at $5M.

      • Rebuilding

        Thanks. For some reason I had it stuck in my head that it was a 1 year deal. Well, whether we flip him this year or not might tell us a lot about whether the FO plans to be competitive in 2014

        • JulioZuleta

          The other 2 we signed (Baker, Feldman) were one year-deals. I had to double check too.

  • Cub2014

    I am looking at minors promotions in June?
    Why not?
    1. Alcantera to Iowa release maysonette
    Then Baez to Tenn, candelario to Dayton
    (Allows Bruno to play 2b & Saunders to
    Play SS)
    2. Bour to Iowa, release Nelson, Geiger to Tenn,
    Vogelbach to Daytona
    3. Stewart to CHI, Sappelt to Iowa, release McDonald
    Solar to Tenn, Silva to Iowa?, Shoulders to Daytona
    Almora to Daytona.
    Everyone is on schedule (except Baez) to advance.
    Cubs need to see what they have. So 2014 all you
    need is 1. Price from the Rays 2. Power hitting
    lefty veteran for corner Outfield. 3. Oh ya and a
    closer! Vizcaino? Rookies at 3b,LF?
    See, we are not that far away?

    • Matty Ice

      Baez can barely hit A ball pitching right now. No way he gets moved up

      • JulioZuleta

        Dominating over the last 10 games. People way overreacted to a bad 8 games to start the year.

        • Matty Ice

          Dominating? Hitting .262 with 13 K’s is dominating? I believe your definition of that word is a little off

          • JulioZuleta

            Before tonight’s 0-3 he was over .315 in his last 10. Definitely would say that is closer to “dominating” than “barely hitting.”

            • Matty Ice

              Oh okay let’s just pick and choose which games we put into the sample.

              Hey, he’s hitting .500 in games where he doesn’t go hitless this year. Bring him up to the big leagues NOW.

              • JulioZuleta

                I was just saying he heated up recently….Which he has, at least compared to the first 10 games.

        • Kyle

          He’s basically been the same hitter in both stretches. He’s just gotten obscene BABIP luck lately to balance out his poor BABIP luck earlier.

          The near-30% K-rate and 4% BB rate are serious warning signs even in the small sample. Baez needs to make a major adjustment if he’s going to hit A+ pitchers, let alone MLB pitchers.

          • jt

            So the low BB rate means that he is probably trying to make contact and pitchers are throwing strikes or close to strikes to him.
            The high K rate means that his success rate at making contact should be much better.
            Seems like that should be a cause for concern.

  • Tim

    You know what would be interesting to see? The BABIP vs cubs pitchers. Compared to the rest of the league. Everyone always seems to talk about how unlucky rizzo has been, but I would like to see how “unlucky” the pitching staff has been. Maybe have it broken down into the rotation and the bullpen, or part of a players pitching stats

  • mjhurdle

    I am probably in the minority, but i think that Marmol did a decent job given his second night with so many pitches in yesterday’s game.
    I love Barney, but i blame Barney for that ball getting into the OF. He was there, just misjudged and it went under his glove. Or maybe i was just seeing things.
    For all the hate that Barney gets for fans, myself included, i thought he did decent tonight.
    The decision to use Marmol was not the issue to me. To me the real decision was whether or not to pull V. Maybe Sveum is starting to over-think things, but i can’t blame him for yanking him with a runner on, around 100 pitches, and a 1 run game.
    Glad that Barney made it a moot point with his HR, and Gregg with the save.
    Go Cubs!

    • TWC

      I agree. Marmol was fine. Mr. Golden Glove Barney absolutely should have had that ball.

    • mjhurdle

      darn, just realized i typed Barney instead of Marmol in the line about hate from the fans.

  • Rizzo44

    How about everyone on the Cubs grow a stache??? Good win.

  • Todd McCombs

    Marmol leads the team in wins

  • Jason

    We now have a better run differential (-16) than the Washington Nationals (-17). The Nationals are 10-10.

    Teams with similar records to us like the Marlins, Astros, and Padres have run differentials of -28, -39, and -48. So here’s the big question: are we better than we’ve shown (like our -16 would suggest) or have we been lucky to keep some of these games close?

    • Kyle

      We’re not good, but we are better than whatever win percentage 6-13 comes out to

      • Matty Ice

        28th in runs scored and 29th in fielding percentage says otherwise.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          The fielding percentage part means next to nothing, but the run scoring is really troubling. A 0.286 team OBP is pretty appalling. And before people say: “That’s just because of bad clutch ABs,” the team OBP with the bases empty is 0.290. I suppose that the one bright spot is the isolated slugging: that’s about 5th best in the NL. However, it needs to be #1 by a good margin to make up for the awful 0BP.

          The starting actually has been good. However, where the weak offense really shows is that despite the good starting, this team would be 7-12 if all games had ended after 6 innings.

          • Matty Ice

            Fielding percentage is a part of run prevention, is it not?

          • jt

            A high number of errors should warrant a look at the quality of the errors. Are they the results bad decisions after difficult stops kind of thing. If so can they be corrected? If not are they going to continue to cost runs?
            JD feels Castro’s errors are caused by a bad internal clock that causes fault in decisions as to when to rush and when to take time to set. Perhaps Rizzo has had a similar problem a few times. Could coach drills help this sort of problem? If not should the player be managed differently?
            The team is what it is. If it is to continue to have trouble scoring runs then it becomes increasingly important to limit RA.

        • Kyle

          No, they don’t. They may say we’re bad, but they don’t say we’re a .315 win percentage team long-term.

          • jt

            My take is a bit different. They are bad. If some players improve a bit or they make a few changes to improve the roster a bit they could easily become decent or even good. But until one of those actually happens… they are bad.

            • cub2014

              What is the cubs only strength? starting pitching!
              those guys would go as far as they could if I was
              managing. Weakness: bullpen and runs. It’s time
              to play small ball. Play guys like Borbon good
              career OB %, move runners over get them in.

              So we need speed and contact hitters. Bad bullpen,
              defense and strikeouts have heavily contributed to
              9 of the losses

              • Cubbie Blues

                Dusty? Is that you? I still haven’t forgiven you for what you did to Prior’s arm. He could have been a contender. He could have been somebody.

                • Die hard

                  Dusty relied on advice of pitching coach who couldn’t get out of town fast enough so can wreck havoc on Sabathia

    • DocPeterWimsey

      The games have been kept close by great teamwork between the starters and the batters: the starters don’t give up many runs, and the batters do not score many. After all, real baseball fans love low-scoring games, right?