Q&A with Sean Marshall

Fresh off his first win in over a month, Cubs starter Sean Marshall will make his 15th start of the year Sunday at Minnesota as interleague play continues. We caught up with Marshall and got his thoughts on his first season in the majors, whether or not it's really too late for the Cubs to turn things around, and the constant chatter of manager Dusty Baker's future on the North side.

Inside The Ivy: We hear so much about you and from you after each start, but overall, how would you grade your first season-to-date in Chicago?

Sean Marshall: It's gone really well. Every start, I go out and feel more and more comfortable with the belief that I belong in the major leagues. I've learned a lot so far.

Inside The Ivy: What are some of the lessons you've learned specifically?

Sean Marshall: I've learned that you can't make too many mistakes up here. Most of the mistakes I have made have been either doubles or home runs. I realized early on in that first inning against the Cardinals in my debut that if you make a mistake down the middle to a guy like Scott Rolen, he's going to hit it hard. I've learned to cut down on those mistakes and also better pitch selection in certain situations.

Inside The Ivy: Now that you've sort of solidified yourself in the rotation for the time being, how easy is it to see yourself here in the long run?

Sean Marshall: It's all about the confidence up here and being able to realize that you can have success. You have to keep up the hard work and hopefully stay focused through the entire season.

Inside The Ivy: How long did it take you to realize, ‘Hey, I can pitch with these guys?' Was it something that you knew from the beginning in Spring Training or did it take a few good regular season starts under your belt?

Sean Marshall: I sort of knew all along. In Spring Training, I had a lot of confidence based on my ability and what the coaches were telling me. I've had a little good luck so far, but I think things have gone really well for me.

Inside The Ivy: Who would you say has been the toughest team you've faced this year?

Sean Marshall: Actually, the Giants. When I was pitching against them, Barry Bonds was going for his 714th home run, so there was a lot of emphasis there. They'd been hitting very well that week and I think they racked me up for nine runs. They swung it well and I learned a lot from that outing.

Inside The Ivy: Obviously, the Cubs are struggling and are not where we'd all like them to be. How confident are you personally that things can turn around?

Sean Marshall: We've played well at times this year, especially in Cincinnati where they've had a good team. I think we're going to be fine when we get all these guys back healthy. Kerry Wood, Mark Prior and Derrek Lee are all right around the corner and close to being fully healthy. I think when we get everybody back, it's just going to be a matter of time.

Inside The Ivy: There's also been a lot of talk about Dusty Baker's future as well as some of the other coaches. Is it difficult to play through that?

Sean Marshall: That stuff doesn't bother us a bit. We just go out and do all we can do to accomplish things as individuals. We've been in tough stretches for a little while, but we know we can win games. Dusty has been behind us the whole way and has helped me a lot as a ballplayer.

Through his first 14 outings, Marshall is 4-5 with a 4.97 ERA, and 50 strikeouts and 36 walks. He allowed four runs and seven hits, including three home runs in a winning decision against the Cleveland Indians on Monday night.

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