Game Recap: Cubs 5, Reds 1; Why must Lou use Marmol?
In a game that had few surprises, the Cubs won their most recent series against the Reds tonight in resounding fashion. Carlos Zambrano delivered for the second consecutive start, going 8 innings on 103 pitches, allowing 1 hit, walking 0, striking out 5, and improving his record to 10-3 on the season.
The only blemish against the Big Moose came in the 3rd when Adam Dunn did what Adam Dunn does best - hit a homerun at Wrigley. In his career, Dunn has, er, done poorly against Zambrano, batting .226. But of his 12 hits in 53 at bats, 6 have been for homeruns. For comparrison's sake, Dunn is 9 for 37 in his career against Kerry Wood (that's a .243 clip) and 5 of his 9 hits have also been long balls. Oh, and he also owns Ryan Dempster (.364 AVG, 4 for 11). Anyway, Dunn's recurring ownage of the Cubs was not enough, as the Cubs offense gave Carlos 3 more runs than he needed in order to get tonight's win.
Tonight's primary producer for the Cubs was Aramis Ramirez, who went 2 for 4 with a homer, a double, and 2 RBI. He also made his 8th error of the season in the 1st inning, not that it hurt the Cubs as they were able to escape on a strike-'em-out throw-'em-out unlike anything we ever saw when Michael Barrett was Carlos's battery mate. Heh. That was a pune, or play on words.
Anyway, all told the Cubs got 10 hits and 3 walks tonight. The only point of offensive concern centers around Jim Edmonds, who has gone 0 for his last 11. But before you worry too much about his sudden crash return to reality, let's not forget that Aramis Ramirez was recently more than 0 for 20, and he's busted out of it these last few games.
All that said, there remains one point of concern right now - Carlos Marmol. He's been hit and miss, and in tonight's case, mostly miss. (Another pune.) After getting the first 2 outs of the 9th inning tonight, Marmol allowed a single to Jay Bruce, who then advanced to second on a wild pitch, at which point Carlos walked Keppinger and Griffey Jr. before Kerry Wood came in and induced a game-winning foul ball.
At this point, it's hard to contend that Carlos Marmol is being overused by Lou Piniella. On two nights in a row - two nights! - Marmol has come into blow-out games, as if Lou doesn't have about umpteen other relief pitchers playing kick the sunflower seeds in the bullpen. But Marmol has also now pitched in the last 4 games the Cubs played, and the July 6th game against St. Louis was also a blow-out.
Now, I know that Lou plays favorites, but at this point he has five guys in the bullpen right now with ERAs below 4, not counting his closer. I'm just saying. He has other options that just might be able to hold a four run lead for an inning. Maybe he should look into them a little more.
Cubs play for the sweep tomorrow. With Ted Lilly on the mound against Bronson Arroyo, it strikes me as being entirely possible.