2009 Recap: Tom Gorzelanny/Sean Marshall
In 2009, behind the reliable arm of Ted Lilly was a group of left handed would-be starters of modest ability and some history of
success. Both Sean Marshall and Tom Gorzelanny would start games for the Cubs in '09 to middling degrees of success, and while either probably deserve their own independent article in this series we have elected to lump them together as one.
First, Sean Marshall.
Marshall has been described by Goat Friend Jon Miller as a pitcher without enough stuff to really be an effective starter, and he's probably right. Sean has the tendency to succeed in first-outings, but as a starter he loses effectiveness as the season progresses. In '09, Marshall was 2-5 with a 5.24 ERA in 9 starts and he lost his gig fairly early into the year.
He segued that into 46 respectable outings as a reliever, where he posted an ERA of 3.23. He's not a justifiable LOOGY - even though his AVG against lefties was 40 points lower than his AVG against righties - but he has proven yet again that he's deserving of a major league roster spot so long as he's actually used right. But Piniella would be better of burning the hair off his own scalp than try Marshall as a starter again in 10. Luckily he won't have to.
Tom Gorzelanny is best remembered for his heart-warming role in the movie Goonies, as well as his cameo appearance at the end of Weird Science. But as the Cubs he proved to be a usually-reliable starting pitcher who has earned the chance to pitch in the rotation in 2010. Naturally, the stats do not tell the full story.
As a Cub, Gorzelanny started in 7 games. In 5 of those 7 games, he went 5 or more innings and held his opponents to 2 or fewer earned runs. In those other 2 games, he got his ass lit on fire. Against the Rockies and the D-Backs he looked about as bad as Gene Simmons minus the makeup. Against everybody else, he pitched like a bad-ass in full-blown KISS garb blasting Love Gun all over the cheering, throbbing crowd. (Wait, what?)
So, which Gorzo is the real one? Can we really play that game of ignoring bad starts to support our ill-conceived opinion? The answer to the second question is no, and I have no idea regarding the answer to the first. If Gorzo is the 5th starter on the '10 Cubs, Lou's crew will survive, but he is not likely a full season answer. His '09 numbers just don't support dramatic success next year.