Changes Afoot For The Cubs?

In astrange move, the Cubs called up Carlos Marmol to serve as reliever. Marmol, a
converted catcher who hit a low-minor career .268 before moving to the mound,
has seen major league time in 2006 in the Cubs pen, kindly categorized as poor,
a result of injuries that forced their hand and had him up far too early.


This season,
back in the Triple-A Iowa rotation, he was second in the Pacific Coast League
in strikeouts to all-world Brewers pitching prospect Yovanni Gallardo with 48
in 41 innings, 4-1 in seven starts with a 3.95 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. He’s pitched
ahead in the count at an almost 2-1 ratio and held opponents to a .204
batting average; in one word, solid. I’ve liked him for a while as a deep sleeper;
a live arm mid-90s fastball with the same issues of the converted position player,
underdeveloped secondary pitches. I’ve wondered how it would play out as a starter,
always thinking of him more as a later-inning relief prospect, although I’ve
heard reports his curveball has improved immensely.

Why the call
up now? Angel Guzman was pulled from his last start early with a hamstring cramp
but claims it’s nothing. He’s shown signs of life as a starter recently
although he’s yet to go deep into games. The Cubs late-inning bullpen has been
far from automatic having blown 8-of-17 save opportunities already this season,
second in the NL to Colorado’s nine. With the Central Division
leading Brewers 3-of-20 in this department, and the Cubs already six back, one
wonders how long it will be until Lou Pinella loses his kinder, gentler self
and becomes the Mariners’ version we remember and reminisce on often.

Felix Pie went 0-for-4 on Friday breaking a nine-game minor league hitting streak darting
back to April14 when he went 0-2. In 74 Triple-A at-bats he’s hitting .419/.482/.595
with a 12/10 K:BB ratio. Pie hits left-handed, so does Jacque Jones and Cliff
Floyd. But Jones can’t hit lefties; a .370 slugging through the years 2004-2006,
and can’t play centerfield with the same proficiency as the 22-year-old top prospect.
With all the above information, I think a change in could be in the works, and soon.


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