Results tagged ‘ Carlos Marmol ’

Cubs venture to the South Side

The Cubs take a trip down the Dan Ryan Expressway this week en route to U.S. Cellular Field for the second leg of the BP Crosstown Cup. To add some fuel to Chicago rivalry, we’re breaking down the position-by-position matchups for both teams, starting today with starters and bullpens.

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Starting Pitching

Monday
Matt Garza (2-5, 4.04 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 8.3 K/9) vs. Zach Stewart (1-1, 5.18 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 5.55 K/9)

The Cubs will have an opportunity to jump out to an early lead in the series with the Sox’s Zach Stewart making his first start of the season. Last year, Stewart completed seven innings just once in eight starts after being acquired from the Blue Jays in a July trade.

But this may not be a sure thing. For a starter many believed was the Cubs’ ace going into Opening Day, Matt Garza has struggled a bit, especially of late. In his first six outings, Garza had a 2.59 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP and was striking out 9.19 batters per nine innings. In his last six outings, those numbers have worsened dramatically (5.87 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 7.55 K/9). With Adam Dunn and Alex Rios bouncing back, Paul Konerko likely having the best season of his career and many others hitting better than expected, Garza will have to pitch well to outlast the tough White Sox lineup.

Tuesday
Travis Wood (0-3, 4.58 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 6.1 K/9) vs. Jake Peavy (6-2, 2.91 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 7.83 K/9)

Travis Wood has been a consistent and solid addition to the Cubs’ rotation since joining the major league club in early May. The southpaw has completed five innings in all six of his starts and has gotten through the sixth in three of them. He’s only had one bad outing (5 IP, 6 ER, 7 H vs. the Padres, a game the Cubs still won) and has surrendered no more than three earned runs in five of six starts.

The Sox have been successful this season in part due to Jake Peavy’s return to dominance. After starting just 35 games over the last two seasons for the South Siders, Peavy entered camp healthy this year, and his numbers show he is back to his old, dominant form. One number that might be helping his cause is a .239 batting average on balls in play. Given the league average hovers somewhere around .300 and the Sox have a good-but-not-great defense, there might be some luck involved to his fast start.

Wednesday
Ryan Dempster (3-3, 2.11 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 7.3 K/9) vs. Gavin Floyd (4-7, 5.63 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 8.5 K/9)

Gavin Floyd has struggled of late to say the least. In his last six starts, he is 1-4 with a 10.71 ERA and a 2.01 WHIP. However, Floyd is still managing to strike out just better than one batter per inning.

Ryan Dempster, meanwhile, has been one of the National League’s most consistently dominant starters all season. Because of poor run support, the 35-year-old won his first start just three outings ago. Prior to his first win on June 5, the Cubs were averaging 2.89 runs per game in Dempster’s starts. But he has won each of his last three because the bats have finally livened up behind him.

Bullpen
While neither bullpen has been automatic this year, the Sox’s ‘pen has fared significantly better than that of the Cubs. Closer Addison Reed has converted eight of nine chances this season, while Matt Thornton (3.38 ERA) and Jesse Crain (2.18 ERA, 10.9 K/9) have been solid setup men.

The Cubs have a 4.51 bullpen ERA, second-worst in baseball, and have saved just nine games total, the lowest total in baseball. James Russell (2.56 ERA) and Shawn Camp (3.74 ERA) have both been good middle/late-innings relievers, but the closer spot is still a revolving door. It appears Carlos Marmol has regained that job after returning from a recent demotion.

Tomorrow on the blog, we’ll feature the infielders.

Cactus Notes: Sveum edges Wood in bunting competition

MESA, Ariz.–It was like a heavyweight fight: two evenly matched competitors slugging away at each other. But when the final round of Monday’s bunting competition was over, only new manager Dale Sveum was left standing.

In a back-and-forth battle between Sveum and right-hander Kerry Wood, Sveum advanced through the first round only after Wood’s final bunt edged into the 20-point box, instead of the 40-point box Wood needed for the victory.

“I got lucky by the way the grass was growing to the east,” Sveum said. “The ball kind of fell off the white line. I thought I was done, and I was going to shake his hand, and the ball just trickled off the white line at the end.”

This spring, Sveum created a NCAA tourney-style bracket, pitting 62 Cubs players and two coaches against each other in a bunting competition. Chalk lines have been drawn on one of the infields at Fitch Park, and different point totals are awarded depending on where the ball lands. Each competitor gets 24 pitches over three rounds and is required to bunt 12 to the first base side and 12 to the third base side.

This was the final first-round draw, with the exception of the matchup between Paul Maholm and Rodrigo Lopez. Their contest has been postponed while Maholm recovers from the flu. Carlos Marmol, Marlon Byrd, Ryan Dempster, Geovany Soto, David Dejesus and Jeff Baker also advanced on Monday.

“It’s a fun thing, but also a lot of people really want to get better and care about it,” Sveum said. “Sacrifice bunting is something that’s very important to the game, and it’s kind of been lost a little over the years.

“You get a feeling of guys who are bearing down and competing, and some guys who aren’t competing as well. You get to know somebody a little bit through this tournament.”

From the pages of Vine Line: Cubby Blue

By Tim Souers, Cubby Blue. Featured in the May 2011 issue of Vine Line (subscribe).

Connecting over the Cubs-Cards rivalry

Carlos Marmol at an on-field presentation for Dominican-born players.

Carlos Marmol was one of the Cubs’ six Dominican players to be honored by the Governor of Illinois and Consul General of the Dominican Republic. (Photo by Stephen Green)

A few things transcend the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry, but on Tuesday, the state of Illinois and the Dominican Republic did just that, honoring players from the Dominican Republic in a pre-game ceremony.

Under the Ricketts family, the Cubs are doing more than ever in the Caribbean island nation. In addition to work being done on a new facility to develop and educate players, Chicago Cubs Charities also has gotten involved—part of ownership’s commitment to do good wherever the Cubs touch.

Press release below:

The Chicago Cubs, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Consul General of the Dominican Republic Gisselle Castillo-Veremis will honor players from the Dominican Republic in a pre-game ceremony at Wrigley Field on May 10.

Prior to the Tuesday evening game against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cubs and the governor, along with the Consulate of the Dominican Republic in Chicago, will salute Cubs Starlin Castro, Carlos Marmol, Marcos Mateo, Carlos Peña, Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano. Consul General Giselle Castillo-Veremis will present these six, along with Cardinals Miguel Batista and Albert Pujols, with a special recognition award on behalf of the President of the Dominican Republic.

“The Cubs are grateful for the contribution of Dominican-born players to our 2011 team,” said Oneri Fleita, Cubs vice president of player personnel. “We have watched many of these players grow up and are proud to see them doing so well at the Major League level.”
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From our family to yours: Thank you, Cubs fans

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The entire Cubs organization had a blast thanking fans for their tremendous support and attendance throughout the 2010 season. On Sunday, everyone from players to seasonal associates to executives chipped in to give our personal gratitude.

Players took a lap around the field and threw autographed baseballs into the crowd, like Carlos Marmol above. Ryan Dempster perched himself at third base and chucked baseballs as far as the upper deck. The fan response was tremendous.

Todd terrace 2.JPGTom, Laura and Todd Ricketts split up between all of Wrigley Field’s gates and were joined by front office associates to welcome fans before the game. I saw a number of people getting their tickets, jerseys and promotional Kernel Fabyan’s popcorn buckets signed by the Rickettses. Our team photographer, Stephen Green, captured Todd later walking around terrace reserved handing out signed-and-dated baseballs to kids, something ownership has been quietly doing all season long.

After the game, Mike Quade walked along the third base line to sign autographs and take photos with anyone whom asked.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for INSIDE THE IVY LOGO.jpgThe last game of the season was bittersweet: On the one hand, it’s always great to have an opportunity to celebrate the Cubs’ special bond with their fans, especially under the new ownership’s fan-friendly focus. On the other, it was hard not to look around the ballpark — the ivy changing color, the packed house, the organ music and the other little details that tend to slip by in the middle of the season — and want just another day or series or month to the season.

Hey, at least we have the 26th Cubs Convention in just 108 days. (Individual passes go on sale soon, but hotel rooms at the Hilton Chicago — with heavily discounted passes — are available now.)

– Sean Ahmed

More of Steve’s photos below the jump.

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More from a beautiful Opening Day

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Should Opening Day be a holiday? Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny thinks so:

“If you love baseball, when Opening Day comes around, it’s a great feeling. It’s awesome for us as players. I think of when I was younger. I was always excited because I would try to get out of school and run home as quick as I can to watch baseball the rest of the day. That was a fun time. It was almost like a holiday for me. It should be a holiday.”

Here’s the day in photos, from the lens of Stephen Green.

Cubs tickets are still available for April and May games. Grab your seat at Wrigley Field on cubs.com. And don’t miss out on Stephen Green’s photos in every issue of Vine Line. Get your insider’s pass by subscribing today.

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Still all about the team

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    MESA, Ariz.–In 1987, after Andre Dawson got plunked by the Padres’ Eric Show, a young Greg Maddux was told not to retaliate. If he did, he’d be on the first bus back to Triple A.

Still just trying earn his keep at the big-league level, Maddux did not heed those words and uncorked a fastball at Benito Santiago. He wasn’t sent down right away, but he did earn respect.

“It’s all about the team,” he told me, when recalling that story a couple of years ago.

Maddux back small.jpgOn Monday, the man who probably will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer and arguably one of the best pitchers in baseball history took his turn….throwing batting practice.

It was very non-descript. I’m not sure anyone else saw it. And in his illustrious career, it was the FIRST time he had ever done it. He’s thrown BP to his kids before, but all these years he’s been in camp as a player and never done it.

In the cage were three young catchers–Robinson Chrinios, Blake Lalli and Steve Clevenger. All three probably hadn’t been born or at least were toddlers when Maddux plunked that guy nearly 23 years ago.

There might be a little paunch to his middle these days, but excuse the guy for enjoying himself a little after spending more than two decades winning 355 games, throwing over 5,000 innings and striking out 3,371 men.

“The game gave me more than I could ever want or ever hope for,” Maddux said. “It’s just nice to be back in it and try and give back and help the players and team. That’s what it’s all about. You help the players, hopefully the team wins more games.”

maddux throwing small.jpgHe was huffing and puffing a little bit out there. “Yeah, throwing BP let’s you know how out of shape you are,” he laughed. “It’s OK for the first 10 minutes, then toward the end you’re sucking wind.”

After the session was over I spied Clevenger packing up his bat and helmet. It was then he gave a quick glance out to the mound. While Maddux was picking up balls–just like any other guy–Clevenger shook his head and smiled a big ol’ grin as if to say, “Man, that was pretty cool. I hit BP off of Greg Maddux.”

“Well, hopefully these young guys realize they are good enough to be in the big leagues,” Maddux said. “I hope they understand to work hard to be successful. Because what this game can do for you and your family is incredible, so they should take advantage of that.”

NOTES FROM THE DAY 2:

– Carlos Silva pitched for the first time. He looked decent. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild encouraged him to drive more off his back leg.

– Geovany Soto returned to action, looking fit and solid.

– During double play drills and infield practice, it was amazing to see how smooth Andres Blanco is at shortstop.

– Rookie Starlin Castro looked good during live BP, raking several John Grabow offerings into left field. Line drives, not flyballs, mind you.

– Xavier Nady sat out outfield cutoff drills because of his arm, on which he had Tommy John surgery last year. He stood next to manager Lou Piniella, talking about angles of pursuit.

– It was the “Carlos Show” with Silva and both Zambrano and Marmol throwing live BP. Both looked good, throwing hard and crisp.

–Mike Huang

Vine Line subscribers  will read more of this Greg Maddux interview in the coming months in Vine Line and its new landing page on cubs.com, soon to debut this month.The page will include stories from the current month’s issue, a photo gallery from Steve Green and video from spring training and Wrigley Field, during the season.

To subscribe to Vine Line, visit http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/chc/fan_forum/vineline.jsp

 

Rooting for a good cause

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for ON LOCATION LOGO.jpgOn Sept. 2, Geovany Soto chaired the 2nd Annual Rooters Ball at Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse in downtown Chicago. Organized by the West Side Rooters Social Club, the event benefitted Chicago Cubs Charities, supporting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Major League Baseball Dominican Development Alliance.

Several current Cubs players joined Soto, including Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, Derrek Lee, Carlos Marmol, Jake Fox, Sam Fuld, Randy Wells and John Grabow. Also present was “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks, chairman of the West Side Rooters Social Club.

We talked to several players, in Spanish, about their charitable support:

VL: Why are you participating in the Rooters Ball?


Ramirez Soto Marmol copy.jpgGeovany Soto:
Well, growing up in Puerto Rico, I was lucky that I had everything I needed and I was healthy all my life. But I saw the needs around me, and I thought that, if I ever had the chance, I would love to help kids. And in this case, kids with diabetes need a lot of help. Also, when I was playing in the minors, I had a coach [Alan Dunn] whose son was diagnosed with diabetes. I had a really good relationship with him and his son, and that painful moment for them affected me because they were important to me.

Alfonso Soriano: Geovany invited me. I am here supporting him in this worthy cause. Tonight we are participating for the Chicago Cubs.

Jake Fox: No. 1, I have great respect for Geovany Soto, and when he invited me to participate, I did it gladly. This is a noble cause, and when a player of his caliber asks you to help, you do it because that’s what friends are for. Another reason is that my wife has diabetes. She is a Type 1 diabetic, and every time I can help JDRF, I am first in line.

VL: We know some of the proceeds from this event will go to the Dominican Republic through the MLB Dominican Development Alliance. What does it feel like to know that you are helping the Dominican community?

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Guzman and Marmol to open Little Cubs Field

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The big leagues go little league: Angel Guzman and Carlos Marmol will be on hand tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. to open Little Cubs Field in the Chicago neighborhood of Humboldt Park. Come check out the beautiful $2 million field, which incorporates several iconic features from Wrigley Field and a field-turf surface that will allow area kids to use it throughout the spring, summer and fall.

Also on hand will be Cubs chairman Crane Kenney, to speak about the organization’s initiative to reach out to Spanish speakers, as well as our new Spanish-language radio broadcasters, Elio Benitez and Hector Fabregas.

WHEN: Saturday, May 30, 2009 at 9 a.m.

WHERE: Little Cubs Field
              Humboldt Park’s Field Six

              (On Luis Munoz Marin Drive — just east of Kedzie, between North and Division)

WHO: Alderman Billy Ocasio
          Cubs Chairman Crane Kenney
          Cubs players Angel Guzman and Carlos Marmol
          Elio Benitez, WRTO Radio
          Hector Fabregas, WRTO Radio

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