Cubs, Garza let down by bullpen again

May, 17, 2012
5/17/12
12:03
AM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Once again the bullpen let the Chicago Cubs and starter Matt Garza down in a 9-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday.

[+] EnlargeMichael Bowden
Brian D. Kersey/Getty ImagesMichael Bowden gave up the biggest blow against the Phillies, a grand slam by Hector Luna.
Garza left the game with two outs in the seventh inning, and James Russell closed out the inning. But Shawn Camp, making his 18th appearance in the Cubs’ 37th game, gave up a solo home run to Carlos Ruiz in the eighth, and Scott Maine and Michael Bowden combined to give up six runs in the ninth inning. The big blow was a grand slam by pinch-hitter Hector Luna off Bowden.

”It is what it is,” manager Dale Sveum said. “We have guys pitching in roles that they probably shouldn’t be pitching in, and it’s tough. They never had to do this (late-inning assignments ) before. They are thrown into this mix all of a sudden, and it’s not the easiest thing to do.”

The Cubs’ closer (Carlos Marmol ) and main set-up man (Kerry Wood) coming out of spring training have been both hurt and ineffective for the first part of the season, leaving Sveum and pitching coach Chris Bosio little choice but to go with pitchers not ready or capable of getting big-league hitters out at the end of the game.

Garza has now come out of 10 games in the last season and a quarter with a no-decision and in 2011 alone he had the lead in seven games before getting no-decisions.

”They are trying (hard),” Garza said. “They are young. We knew we were going to take some lumps. We have young guys.”

The Cubs’ pen has blown eight out of the 14 save opportunities it has had this season.

“We aren’t going to bring in (closer Rafael) Dolis in that situation,” Sveum said. “So that’s basically all we got right there.”

The front office continues to look at the wavier wire for help as Marmol tries to get recover from a hamstring injury and Wood pitches himself back into game condition .

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jake Arrieta
WINS ERA SO IP
9 2.65 157 149
OTHER LEADERS
BAS. Castro .292
HRA. Rizzo 31
RBIA. Rizzo 72
RA. Rizzo 83
OPSA. Rizzo .895
ERAT. Wood 4.86
SOJ. Arrieta 157