Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
Blog Entry

Cubs survive despite ill-advised pitching plan

Posted on: April 11, 2011 11:36 pm
Edited on: April 11, 2011 11:43 pm
 
By Matt Snyder

The Cubs survived Monday night with a win, but did nearly everything they could after the fourth inning to give the game to the hapless Astros. They pounded the ball all over the yard for four innings while Ryan Dempster fought through early command issues and settled in. It was 5-0 and everything seemed to be in control. Things started to unravel soon thereafter due to a pitching gameplan that made little sense.

You see, the Cubs are going to use a reliever to start Tuesday's game. James Russell is slated to go about three innings, so the Cubs knew they were going to tax the bullpen Tuesday. So when Dempster was north of 100 pitches and losing control -- he walked two of the last three hitters he faced in the sixth -- manager Mike Quade tried to squeeze a seventh inning out of him. That was fine. He can handle the workload, it was the bottom of the order and they still had a four-run lead.

Then Bill Hall hit a home run.

OK, so let Dempster face Michael Bourn with a three-run lead. I guess I could see the case to let that happen. But then Bourn doubled and it actually could have easily been called a home run. If you made a list of the top 10 least powerful hitters in the league, Bourn would be on it. And Quade and his staff even had time to discuss things while the umpires used instant replay to see if the ball left the yard or not. It was ruled a double and a clearly gassed Dempster was left in the game.

Of course, Bourn scored pretty shortly thereafter as Angel Sanchez followed with a home run to cut the score to 5-4. Finally, mercifully, Dempster was removed after 115 pitches and nearly blowing a five-run lead in a matter of 1 1/3 innings.

About this time, the offense stopped hitting, too, as the Astros' bullpen allowed zero hits and two walks in the final four innings (it's stuff like this that makes me wonder how I've avoided a heart attack in my 25-plus years of being a Cubs fan).

But the bullpen did make the lead stand up, as Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol got some huge strikeouts to escape late Houston rallies.

Of course, now the Cubs have to worry about filling six innings of relief tomorrow, assuming Russell can make it through three. Sure, they were dealt a bad hand with injuries to both Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner, but you don't have to create adversity for yourself by using a relief pitcher as a starter like it's spring training.

There's been no official word Quade left Dempster in due to the plan for Tuesday, but let's be honest here: If Cashner or Wells was taking the mound Tuesday, there's no way Dempster is in the game that long.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Comments

Since: Feb 23, 2011
Posted on: April 12, 2011 11:21 pm
 

Cubs survive despite ill-advised pitching plan

And shockingly, we got smoked tonight.  Made one of the worst teams in the league look like the '27 yankees.  Can't wait for the Wandy Rodriguez shutout tomorrow. 



Since: Jun 13, 2007
Posted on: April 12, 2011 3:23 am
 

Cubs survive despite ill-advised pitching plan

Silva was released prior to the season.  He was just signed by the Yankees.




Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: April 12, 2011 1:08 am
 

Cubs survive despite ill-advised pitching plan

Carlos Silva is a cancer and has no place on this team.



Since: Jan 25, 2007
Posted on: April 11, 2011 11:46 pm
 

Cubs survive despite ill-advised pitching plan

good thing they still have Carlos Silva...oh wait...


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com