Bullpen Rears Its Ugly Side

All of a sudden, the Cubs are experiencing bullpen problems. Setup man Carlos Marmol and closer Kevin Gregg had been sailing along pretty nicely until this weekend in Florida.

Marmol had a return of the wildness that plagued his early season when he walked four batters and hit one in the first two games against the Marlins. Marmol now has walked 48 in 50 innings to go along with 10 hit batters. Having surrendered 27 hits, Marmol has a feverish WHIP of 1.47.

Gregg blew save opportunities in games Saturday and Sunday. He now has 21 save in 26 chances and has surrendered 10 homers.

"It was two pitches," Gregg said. "Twenty-five guys put together a great effort and two pitches are why we walk out of here losing."

Cubs manager Lou Piniella has been steadfast in his support of Gregg as his closer, and that's likely not to change. However, pitching coach Larry Rothschild may have to work with Marmol against "overthrowing."

MARLINS 3, CUBS 2: Gregg gave up back-to-back homers to Dan Uggla and Cody Ross in the bottom of the ninth to blow his second save in two nights. 3B Jake Fox homered in the top of the ninth to put the Cubs ahead 2-1. RHP Ryan Dempster worked six scoreless innings.


--LHP Tom Gorzelanny will come up from Class AAA Iowa and start Tuesday at Cincinnati. The Cubs obtained Gorzelanny in last week's trade with Pittsburgh that brought lefty reliever John Grabow. Gorzelanny could make three starts until LHP Ted Lilly (shoulder, knee) comes off the DL.

--RHP Carlos Zambrano left Saturday's start in Florida with a stiff lower back. The Cubs say he should be fine to make his next start, Friday at Colorado. Zambrano pitched only three innings, giving up three hits and two runs, one earned.

BY THE NUMBERS: 23 -- C Koyie Hill has 23 straight starts under his belt as of Aug. 2. That's the most by a Cubs catcher since Damon Berryhill started 25 in a row in 1989.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Tasteless. Every time we come here, they do some kind of gimmick. I don't know who thinks them up. I mean, when they come to Chicago, we don't fry marlin." -- Piniella, on the Florida Marlins parading a billy goat around the field.


--LF Alfonso Soriano also played second base and third base in Saturday's 10-inning game at Florida. Soriano had not played third since 2000, when he was with the Yankees. He was moved from left field to second base in the 10th. One batter later, he went to third. After another out, he moved back to second as manager as manager Lou Piniella played lefty-righty matchups, trying to keep the ball away from Soriano.

--Dempster turned in a quality start, working six innings and giving up three hits and no runs. Dempster had better rhythm and command than he did in his previous start, when he was fresh off the disabled list.

--3B Aramis Ramirez did not play, one day after being plunked on the left forearm with a pitch in the 10th inning. Ramirez said he planned to play in Monday's series opener at Cincinnati.

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