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Monday, September 6, 2010
Problems persist for young Cubs bullpen

By Bruce Levine

CHICAGO -- There’s a fine line between young pitchers getting big-league experience, and getting their brains kicked in.

Cubs interim manager Mike Quade broached the subject with bullpen coach Lester Strode and pitching coach Larry Rothschild after yet another drubbing at the hands of the New York Mets on Sunday.

“My thoughts talking to Lester and Larry today was that we’ve got to find a way to turn the page,” Quade said. “We’ve had games in the past where [the bullpen has] struggled, and then put together a nice little run. You have a little relapse there, but it’s a new day.”

Thomas Diamond
Cubs reliever Thomas Diamond gave up five runs to the Mets on Sunday.
Right-hander Thomas Diamond and left-hander James Russell each allowed five runs in relief against the Mets, accentuating a year-long problem for the team, as late innings, before getting to Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol, have doomed many a game.

The Cubs have given up five runs or more in an inning 21 times in 2010 -- 13 times from the seventh inning on.

Trying to identify which young pitchers will be counted on next year in the Cubs’ bullpen is still a mystery five-plus months into this season.

“If you can’t put stuff like [bad outings] behind you in the bullpen, you’re not going to be an effective bullpen guy,” Quade said. “Not to say it’s easy, and it’s not to say your confidence can’t be hurt from one outing, or a tough outing, but you’ve got to be able to put it behind you.”

  • Shortstop Starlin Castro will be observing Monday and Tuesday’s games from the bench, after Quade saw a need to get some rest time for the Rookie of the Year candidate.

    “I want the guy to take a step back and take a look at what goes on here from a different perspective,” Quade said. “Sitting here with [the coaches] and his teammates and give him a chance as to how to compartmentalize all the different tasks that go with that position and playing at this level. I think the break will help him.”

    Quade’s move came in response to some mental lapses by Castro in the past few games.

  • The Triple-A Iowa Cubs season ended Monday after losing 8-7 to the Memphis Firebirds to miss out on the PCL playoffs. The Iowa Cubs finished the season tied with Memphis, however the Firebirds owned the tie-breaker in head-to-head competition. Roster call-ups now that Iowa has been eliminated will most likely include outfielder Sam Fuld, outfielder Brad Snyder and pitcher Jeff Samardzija.

  • Carlos Silva will come off of the disabled list to start Tuesday's game against Houston.