Well, the 2013 season is two weeks old and both Chicago teams are off to, as anticipated, a mediocre start. The South Side White Sox are 5-7 and 1.5 games back of The Detroit Tigers while the North Side Cubs are 4-8 and 4 games behind their Central division rivals The St. Louis Cardinals. Yes this is a terribly small sample size of the season, but let’s not kid ourselves.
Both teams have modestly functional pieces in play (Sale, Reed, Castro, Soriano) and a few surprises too (Schierholtz, Castillo, Flowers). Bright spots aside, the ultimate goal year in and year our is to win The world Series; This year won’t be it. Timely hitting has helped both teams so far but both pitching staffs have run the gambit of baseball emotions from sensational to tumultuous to a burning pile of ash (they’re getting torched).
If there is a “be all – end all” to the season for either ball club it’ll be the gents on the bump and their bullpen relievers. Although players like Addison Reed are quickly coming into their own, other like Carlos Marmol or Dylan Axelrod are flat out abysmal. Both team’s farm clubs are scarce on pitching prospects no matter what kind of excused they’d make (of which there truly are none.) But the (most likely) inevitable post season clubs (Dodgers, Atlanta, Boston) all have not only solid pitching staffs but reasonable farms systems.
Both teams have post season dreams, but this year that’s all they can be. With some hard work, solid drafting, and better than average player development, both clubs should find themselves to be post season regulars over the next few years (look for 2015).
I’m an optimistic person, but in this situation realistic circumstances trump otherwise lofty, unrealistic goals. I’d love to see both teams succeed, even if I do ordinarily root for the North Siders. And I’ll do just that: keep rooting, but with an er of patience. You should too. You’ll see. It’ll pay off soon enough.
The Chicago Cub’s season started strong yesterday with a 3-1 victory Vs. the often played NL Central Pittsburgh Pirates. Jeff Samardzija tossed a gem going 8 innings, giving up 2 hits and 1 walk, while fanning 9. The Merrillville, IN native was then pulled for a 9th inning save opportunity offered to Carlos Marmol, who promptly “Marmolled” his way out of the inning. Carlos struck out his first batter faced followed up with hitting the always dangerous Andrew McCutchen, who then stole second and scored on a Pedro Alvarez single. Marmol then walked Gaby Sanchez which led to Manager Dale Sveum calling in James Russell, and finally Kyuji Fujikawa who earned the save.
Marmol has been terrible traditionally forcing me to scoff when he signed a three-year $20 million contract in 2011. No, he was NOT better back then, nor “good” or even “serviceable” since. He’s ruined 14 save opportunities for himself in that time span. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but 14 games can be the difference between being in the playoffs or watching the playoffs come September.
I’ve been praying for Carlos to be traded for years, only after I prayed for him to to not be resigned. I can only hope that he begins to preforms well enough to have another relief-pitcher-needy team look his way. But to do that he has to be in the game, which is ironically, exactly where The Cubs don’t need him to be.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no quarrel in knowing that this year and even next will only be a set up for what I hope will be a dynamic 2015 campaign. Yes that’s a ways off, but that’s how baseball works: sign, develop, train, use. I just hope that General Manager Jed Hoyer has finally seen the end of Carlos Marmol’s “usefulness.”