Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Preview, Saturday 5/5, 12:05 CT

What is Dale saying to Marty? Manager Dale Sveum of the Chicago Cubs argues with home plate umpire Marty Foster against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Dodgers 5-4. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

As bad as Carlos Marmol has been this season, he isn't the worst closer in the National League -- not even close, as it turns out.

Heath Bell, who the Marlins signed to a three-year, $27 million deal before this season, has been horrific -- this, after being pretty much a lockdown closer the last three years with the Padres, with 40+ saves each season and excellent peripherals; he made the All-Star team all three seasons and was eighth in Cy Young voting in 2010.

Bell blew another save Friday night -- his fourth blown save in seven tries. (The Marlins won the game in extra innings.) Bell has given up 15 hits and 11 walks in 8⅔ innings -- that's a 2.88 WHIP. He's got an 11.42 ERA. That almost makes Marmol look good.

Dale Sveum, as you know, has already taken Marmol out of the closer's role and said he'll close via "matchups", which implies the dreaded "bullpen by committee", which rarely works. What I'd like to see is Sveum think outside the box. Why do we need a separate ninth-inning pitcher every time there is a save situation? That makes the statistic drive the use of pitchers. What if your eighth-inning reliever throws eight pitches and dominates the opposition? What's wrong with just leaving him in?

Some manager is going to try this, because it seems time for the "ninth-inning-closer-no-matter-what" meme to start going away. Why not Sveum?

Today's Starting Pitchers
Chris Volstad
Chris Volstad
Cubs
vs. Chris Capuano
Chris Capuano
Dodgers
0-3 W-L 3-0
6.11 ERA 2.73
20 SO 29
7 BB 13
2 HR 3
vs. LA -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Chris Volstad 0-3 5 5 0 0 0 0 28.0 32 21 19 2 7 20 6.11 1.39


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Chris Capuano 3-0 5 5 0 0 0 0 29.2 23 9 9 3 13 29 2.73 1.21

Chris Volstad hasn't been as bad as his 6.11 ERA would indicate. He's had the propensity to have one really bad inning every start, with the rest of his time being pretty good. If he could avoid that one... bad... inning... Anyway, his last start against the Dodgers was on April 26, 2011 in Los Angeles; he threw seven very good innings. A repeat of that today would be nice. Current Dodgers are hitting .250 against him (23-for-92) with one home run (Matt Kemp).

Chris Capuano, who made a comeback from a couple of years off for arm surgery and had a decent year in 2011, is off to a good start this season. His last start vs. the Cubs was with the Mets on September 10, 2011 -- he threw seven strong innings, though the Cubs won the game. Current Cubs don't have much of a track record against Capuano -- just 7-for-31, although two of those hits are home runs (Blake DeWitt and Alfonso Soriano).

Today's game is on CSN Chicago. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Dodgers site True Blue LA.

Today's first pitch thread will post at 12:05 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 1:05, 2:05 and 2:50 p.m. CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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