One of the many bright spots from last year was Hector Rondon, a guy the Cubs essentially got for free (rule 5 draft pick). There was some speculation heading into camp that newly acquired reliever Jason Motte would challenge the incumbent Rondon for the spot, not a chance Maddon says. “He did close last year, didn’t he?” Maddon said “I ended my sentence.” Maddon had more sentences, “Mr. Rondon looks like he’s going to be pretty darn good here, but from my perspective, it’s about high leverage situations. I like to be able to match up. Matchups aren’t necessarily left on left or right on right. Today’s game presents a lot of reverse split-pitchers or neutral guys.
That’s a typical Joe Maddon quote. Match ups, different situations, who has been good, who hasn’t, Joe Maddon 101. I do like hearing that Maddon is committing, as much as he can, to Rondon right off the bat, leave nothing to the imagination and get it out of the way early. There really is no good reason not to, Rondon has absolutely earned the chance to close this upcoming season. Last year saw Rondon explode onto the scene as the Cubs closer, he appeared in 64 games and registered 29 saves. Rondon’s command was outstanding and his velocity was reaching high nineties late in the season as he seemed to get stronger. The 26-year-old had a 4.20 K/BB ratio while sporting a tasty 2.26 FIP, and a 1.5 fWAR, if he comes anywhere close to those numbers this year….yikes.
I think other guys will get chances this year, maybe more so than usual but that’s just Joe Maddon, right now there is no mistaking who the 9th inning guy is.
I said it yesterday and will say it again today, nothing is better than beating the Sox, especially when you knock them out of first place in doing so. Not to mention how much fun it is to watch Jake Peavy throw tantrums on the mound and AJ Pierzynski act like a five-year old in the box on their way to a gracious defeat. This one was much different from last nights game as pitching took center stage. Both Travis Wood and Jake Peavy were superb with Peavy pitching a complete game but getting a loss for his efforts. Wood was outstanding for the Cubs going six strong innings giving up one run on four hits while waking four and striking out five. Wood earned his first victory of the 2012 season, and his first victory as a member of the Chicago Cubs, he lowered his ERA to a very respectable 4.14. David DeJesus was the hero for the Cubs as he laced a two run single in the third inning to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead which is how this one ended. DeJesus was 2-for-4 on the night with a triple, and two RBI’s, nice to see DeJesus have a good night after struggling recently. Tony Campana also had a nice night at the plate going 2-for-3, Campana is a real weapon when he hits ninth, gives the Cubs two lead-off hitters. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Cubs bullpen tonight, they did an outstanding job closing this game out after Wood departed after the sixth. Rubber arm Sean Camp, James Russell and Carlos Marmol shut the door on the Sox, yes Carlos Marmol. Marmol is now 2-for-2 in save opportunities since regaining “control” of the closer role. The Cubs go for the sweep and a little revenge tomorrow night. Full box score and highlights after the jump.
Per Dale Sveum Carlos Marmol is done closing games for the Cubs. While good news for most Cubs fans, there is still a problem. Marmol is still on the team and can’t throw strikes and has zero confidence. When can Sveum use him? Sveum said he would look to Rafael Dolis and James Russell to pick up the slack.