The Cubs bullpen just isn’t good enough to support starting pitchers who can only go 5-6 innings per start. If a Cubs pitcher goes seven innings or more, and Wood is healthy and throwing well, the combination of Marmol and Wood can usually get it done.
But when a pitcher doesn’t go deep into the game, as was the case today with Rich Harden, there is no way our pen can hold the opposing team down.
First of all, it seems every time Howry comes in he gives up at least one run, usually a home run. Maybe they released the wrong guy in Eyre today. Perhaps it should have been Bob Howry.
Of course, add to the misery the fact that Carlos Marmol went through a really bad stretch from June through mid-July.
And Kerry Wood had been unable to pitch since July 11 because of a blister, until today.
Even Chad Gaudin has been unreliable. So who is left?
Well, the answer is few bullpens are good enough to support a short staff. Here’s how the Cubs rotation has performed over their last 10 starts:
* All Cubs starters have averaged just over 6 innings per start, except Rich Harden who has averaged exactly 6 innings since joining the Cubs and Carlos Zambrano, who has averaged just less than 7 innings per start.
But when a starter goes less than six is when we notice the problems in our bullpen.
Here’s how Cubs relievers have performed over their last 10 appearances:
* Bob Howry has been scored upon in five of his last 10 appearances
* Kerry Wood, Carlos Marmol and Chad Gaudin each have been scored upon in three of their last 10 appearances
* Sean Marshall has been scored upon in six if his last 10 appearances
* Neal Cotts has been scored upon in only two of his last 10 appearances
Incidentally, Scott Eyre, released today, had given up runs in four of his last 10 appearances, in case you were wondering. Couldn’t they have sent Marshall to Iowa and kept the veteran Eyre? It’s obvious Marshall isn’t pitching well anyway.
Well, at least the Cubs won today, though once again a relief pitcher (Howry) got a win he didn’t deserve. Of course, Harden can’t just blame the bullpen today as he wasn’t at his best, forcing more from the pen than what they are capable of. Come to think of it, some things are better in small doses.