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Cubs pitchers being put in a tough spot

4/18/2012

MIAMI -- Don’t try to tell Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza that Marlins Park isn’t very accommodating for driving the ball a long way.

Donnie Murphy and Hanley Ramirez both hit impressive home runs and with how the Cubs’ offense has struggled of late, his chances at a victory were immediately dashed. The Marlins then poured it on for a 9-1 victory.

It was the first time in six starts that either of the top two pitchers in the Cubs rotation delivered anything less than an impressive outing.

Garza’s outing Wednesday came immediately after a dominating 8 2/3-inning masterpiece last week when he missed out on a complete game only because he overthrew first base on what should have been the last out of the game.

He threw 119 pitches in that outing, the most of any Cubs pitcher this season, but it didn’t seem to have an effect on his velocity Wednesday.



“I think his stuff was OK,” manager Dale Sveum said. “It was basically two [home-run] pitches. Other than that, he threw the ball pretty well. His velocity was even better than his first couple of starts actually. I don’t think that had anything to do with it.”

Sveum considered Murphy’s home run to come off a good pitch, but said Ramirez’s third home run in three nights came on a “helicopter slider.”

“It wasn’t the slider he had been throwing most of the night,” Sveum said. “Other than that it wasn’t that bad. It was just an unfortunate two mistakes that were hit for two-run homers.”

The Cubs’ offensive issues are putting their own starting pitchers in a tough spot. The slightest of miscues will spell trouble.

“We aren’t giving [them] much of a lead or even scoring many runs to compound that so it’s tough for these starting pitchers to know that they have to be perfect all the time,” Sveum said.