May 10, 2009

Last night's trainwreck, Bullpen reshuffling

As you may have heard (or worse, seen), Chad Fox's elbow fell apart mid-pitch during the Brewers' blowout of the Cubs last night. He wasn't really a great pitcher anymore, but you have to admire a guy for coming all the way back from three separate Tommy John surgeries. The Cubs placed him on the DL today, and his career is likely over. However, while on the DL, he will accrue more time towards his MLB pension, which will hopefully go a long way to helping him recover from all those injuries. Best of luck to you, Chad Fox.

Speaking of last night's game, what a mess. Gallardo did not bring his A-game at all last night, and the Cubs did not take advantage. They had guys on first and third with no outs in the second and failed to score, had two runners on in the third and fourth and failed to score, and had the bases loaded against the Brewers bullpen in the 7th and failed to come away with any runs. Following that, Lou put Dempster out for another inning despite the fact that he was at 110+ pitches. He promptly gave up back to back HRs to Counsell and Braun before being removed. Cotts and Patton then came in and (hopefully) finally punched their tickets off the roster by coughing up another 4 runs. The Cubs finally showd some life and Fukudome actually got a hit with runners in scoring position, but it was too little too late. After Fox's injury, Heilman came in and walked three straight batters and coughed up a single and sac fly before striking out Weeks and their pitcher. The final score was 12-6 Brewers.

Ascanio was recalled to replace Fox, and he was probably the guy the Cubs should have called up in the first place. Ascanio has been red-hot in AAA, putting up a 2.26 FIP in 26.2 IP thus far. He's not that good (his projections hover around a 4.7 FIP in the bigs), but I've always liked his stuff and he has to be better than David Patton, who is pitching his way off this roster. Patton has a 5.71 FIP thus far, pretty close to his projection of 5.6. No one should be surprised that he has pitched so poorly.

Speaking of AAA starters, Randy Wells wasn't half bad on friday, filling in for Zambrano. He had some early jitters, which were to be expected, but then he settled down and struck out 5 Brewers in 5 innings without giving up a run. Lou seemed impressed by the outing and has hinted that Wells would stick around when Z returns. Sadly, it will probably mean that Ascanio will head back to the minors, but we can hope that he replaces Patton instead.

Other pitchers throwing well in the minors (small sample size caveats apply)

Jeff Stevens, RHP (AAA) - 3.06 FIP
John Gaub, LHP (AA) - 1.04 FIP, career 2.42 FIP v LHH
Esmailin Caridad, RHP (AAA) - 4.77 FIP
Jay Jackson, RHP (AA) - 3.93 FIP
Jeremy Papelbon (AA) - 3.92 FIP, 1.61 FIP v LHH

Watch your back, Cotts and Patton.