With Carlos Marmol on the DL shelf, and already having been demoted from his closer role, Cubs manager Dale Sveum is mixing-and-matching relievers to close games (though it's been mostly Rafael Dolis, that is, when there's even been a closing situation).
This Tom Verducci article at SI.com provides some food for thought on managers possibly changing that role. Here, he's talking about David Robertson of the Yankees, who was the first one given that team's closer role after Mariano Rivera went down with a torn ACL:
In fact, relief usage is so nonsensical that the better you do your job the less you get used. Check out this pattern of how many times Robertson has pitched more than one inning over the past three years:
Verducci goes on to point out:
In 1990 there were 519 saves of more than three outs. Last year there were only 82. And this year we are on a pace for 60.
Where have all the independent thinking managers gone?
Here's an opportunity for Dale Sveum to put a stamp on the game. Be the guy who goes against the grain. Use a reliever for a two-inning save. (That is, when the Cubs even have a chance to do that.) Why not? How many times have we seen Marmol blow a game after the eighth-inning guy blew through three hitters in eight pitches?
DeJesus RF, Campana CF, Castro SS, LaHair 1B, Soriano LF, Stewart 3B, Soto C, Barney 2B, Samardzija P
Aoki cf, Lucroy c, Braun lf, Ramirez 3b, Hart rf, Green 1b, Conrad 2b, Maysonet ss, Estrada p
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
|2012 - Jeff Samardzija||4-1||8||6||0||0||0||0||38.2||34||15||13||2||12||39||3.03||1.19|
|2012 - Marco Estrada||0-2||8||3||0||0||0||0||24.0||22||13||12||6||5||23||4.50||1.13|
Jeff Samardzija has not faced the Brewers this year, and overall current Brewers don't have much of a record against him -- 8-for-35 (.229) with one home run (Ryan Braun). In fact, Braun has four of those eight hits. Shut him down and maybe the Cubs will win this game. (Yes, I know. I'm reaching.)
Marco Estrada has never started a game against the Cubs; in five career relief appearances he's posted an 11.23 ERA with three home runs allowed. That'd be nice. This year, since moving into the rotation, he has a 5.00 ERA with five home runs allowed in 18 innings. No current Cub, though, has more than three career AB against him; overall, current Cubs are just 2-for-18 against Estrada with one home run (Geovany Soto).
Today's game is on WGN. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Baseball-reference.com game preview
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Discuss amongst yourselves.