Chicago Cubs: Manny Corpas
Over the previous nine games, the Cubs relievers had only given up four combined runs and the bullpen had been a major player in the team’s resurgence of late.
It all started innocently enough with an infield single from David Freese. James Russell came on to relieve Justin Germano and the rout was on. Russell gave up six runs on four hits and two walks, Manny Corpas gave up four runs without getting an out and Rafael Dolis gave up a pair of run-scoring doubles.
“You look at their lineup and you don’t see anything that extreme but that’s a tough lineup to get through with the switch hitters and the quality hitters they have,” manager Dale Sveum said. “That’s why five doubles were down the right-field line, two doubles were down the left-field line and [Lance] Berkman added another double late. That’s quality hitters that take that stuff away and they did a great job."
It actually wasn’t that long ago that the Cubs gave up a dozen runs in an inning. It happened July 30, 2010 at Colorado. The Cardinals tied a club record with their 12 runs in an inning, matching a franchise mark first set in 1926. The seven doubles in an inning tied a major league record set by the Boston Bees in 1936.
The six runs allowed by Russell were a career high. He had only given up 12 earned runs all season before the outing.
Going back to the start of 2011, Russell’s 2.31 ERA entering play Saturday was the second best ERA from a National league lefty reliever, behind the 1.57 mark from the Braves’ Eric O'Flaherty. In one night, Russell’s 2012 ERA went from 2.45 to 3.63.
“Russell has gone four months basically without a hiccup like that,” Sveum said. “Those things can happen. Unfortunately it was in a 0-0 game and it started out on an infield dribbler. We got an out on a bunt and after that we all witnessed some good hitting too.”
CHICAGO -- In the convoluted game of baseball you sometimes see hitters get hit by a pitch and have no way of decoding the message.
Such was the case in the 8th inning Wednesday when Cubs reliever Manny Corpas started the frame by throwing a 90 MPH fastball right at White Sox leadoff hitter Alejandro De Aza. After standing and staring in disbelief for a few seconds, De Aza made his way to first base.
Corpas signed a one-year major league deal with the Cubs in December, but he sent to Iowa after the Cubs re-signed Kerry Wood.
The 29-year-old missed all of 2011 after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.
He was the Colorado Rockies closer when they reached the World Series in 2007.
The Chicago Cubs' bullpen was a strength of the 2011 team. But gone from the mix is lefthander Sean Marshall, who was one of baseball’s best set–up men the past two seasons. The back of the pen will be a question mark with the loss of Marshall and the uncertain status of Carlos Marmol's arm strength. The pen will really have to tighten up if Jeff Samardzija goes into the rotation.
1. Carlos Marmol, RHP: He must bounce back with a better season and fewer blown saves. The 29-year-old right-hander had 10 blown saves in 2011, tied for the most in the majors. Marmol also has been baseball's most overused bullpen arm with 27 back-to-back outings last season, by far the most in all of baseball. Since 2008, Marmol has the most appearances of any pitcher, a foolish number when you consider that for two and a half of those four years he was a closer. Marmol told ESPNChicago.com that he has lost 10 pounds since last October. Expect a rebound if manager Dale Sveum and pitching coach Chris Bosio watch how they use him.
3. John Gaub, LHP: He will get a shot as the team's main set-up man along with Wood. Gaub fanned 75 batters in 55 innings at Triple-A Iowa in 2011. Finding a power arm from the left side was a pleasant surprise for the new Cubs brass.
4. James Russell, LHP: The lefthander learned how to pitch at this level through trial and error last season. Russell, who started five games for the Cubs last season, will set up Marmol if Gaub falters.
5. Manny Corpas, RHP: He will get a chance to regain his form this spring. A closer for the Rockies in 2007, Corpas, 29, has been throwing hard since sitting out 2011 following arm surgery. He could set up or close if anyone gets hurt.
6. Andy Sonnanstine, RHP: The former Tampa Ray has had experience as a starter and reliever. He will be available in either role.
7. Chris Carpenter, RHP: He can hit 100 mph with his fastball and could be the sleeper in the Cubs bullpen this season. Carpenter pitched in 10 games for the Cubs in 2011 before going back to Triple-A. He impressed scouts in the Arizona Fall League.
The rest of the bullpen will depend on which pitchers make the rotation. Samardzija goes back to a setup role if he is not part of the rotation. Randy Wells and Casey Coleman might also go to the bullpen if they don't crack the rotation. Chris Volstad is a part of the same mix as the rest of this group. Scott Maine is a situation lefty who could squeeze his way on the 25-man roster.
Corpas, who signed with the Cubs on Dec. 26, is 12-16 lifetime with 34 saves and 51 holds and a 3.95 ERA. He helped the Colorado Rockies get to the 2007 World Series, assuming the closer's role in midseason from Brian Fuentes, who went down with an injury. He ended up with 19 saves and a 2.08 ERA that year.
Corpas, 29, had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in September of 2010 and spent the 2011 season in the Rangers organization rehabbing. He did not pitch in an organized game. Corpas pitched two months in winter ball this offseason in Panama. He will get a chance to make his way into the Cubs' bullpen with Sean Marshall getting traded to the Reds this offseason and right-hander Jeff Samardzija competing for a rotation spot.
The source said the deal will officially be announced Friday. Corpas took a physical in Chicago on Thursday. The finances of the deal are not yet known.Read the full story.