Chicago Cubs: Michael Bowden
CINCINNATI -- Michael Bowden became the fifth different pitcher to blow a save for the Chicago Cubs in their 5-4, 13-inning loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Monday -- and this one happened in dramatic fashion.
“The whole team battled for 13 innings and we lose it like that,” a dejected Bowden said afterwards. “It’s the worst feeling. You let the entire team down.”
CINCINNATI – Here’s a quick look at the Cincinnati Reds' 5-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs in extra innings on Monday night at Great American Ball Park.
How it happened: Luis Valbuena homered in the top of the 13th inning to break a 2-2 tie after Welington Castillo reached on an error, but it didn’t hold up. The Reds’ Jay Bruce tied it again with a two-run double in the bottom half of the inning and then Cesar Izturis drove him in with a two-out single to win it. Michael Bowden suffered the loss. The Cubs got on the board with a leadoff home run by David DeJesus, who drove the ball just over the right field fence and inside the foul pole. They added a run in the third when Starlin Castro brought home Darwin Barney with a base hit. The Reds scored two runs in seventh inning to tie the game. Bruce led off with a home run and one out later Chris Heisey singled to end Cubs starter Travis Wood's night. Reliever Shawn Camp balked Heisey over to second then James Russell gave up a triple to pinch-hitter Jack Hannahan.
What it means: Yet again a Cubs starter failed to get a victory despite a quality effort. Wood pitched very effectively into the seventh inning but his relief corps couldn’t help him out by holding a one-run lead. More important, Wood keeps on showing he belongs in the majors as a starter; he faced the best hitting lineup against lefties in baseball coming into the night. They might not be after his four-hit, two-run effort.
Marmol time: Carlos Marmol pitched a scoreless ninth and 10th, striking out Joey Votto with the winning run on third base and two outs in the 10th. He’s gone six straight appearances (7 IP) without giving up a run after getting scored upon in his first three outings of the season.
Key stats: Castro got a hit in his career high 14th consecutive game. …The Reds had just five hits in the first 12 innings but added three in the 13th. … Shin-Soo Choo broke a 109-year-old Reds record by getting hit by a pitch for the 10th time this month when Wood hit him in the sixth. … The Reds entered the game with the best fielding percentage in the National League, but committed 3 errors. The Cubs had none.
What’s next: Carlos Villanueva (1-0, 1.29 ERA) takes the mound against lefty Tony Cingrani (1-0, 1.80 ERA) in Tuesday’s middle game of the series in a 7:10 CT start.
Also agreeing to terms were pitchers Michael Bowden, Brook Raley, Chris Rusin, Alberto Cabrera, Rafael Dolis, Trey McNutt, Hector Rondon, Arodys Vizcaino and Robert Whitenack, catcher Steve Clevenger, infielders Junior Lake, Christian Villanueva, Josh Vitters and Logan Watkins as well as outfielders Brett Jackson, Dave Sappelt and Matt Szczur.
There were no surprises as the Chicago Cubs' bullpen was expected to be a weakness and it became a major contributor to the slow start that railroaded the season.
Make no mistake, the 2012 Cubs were going to struggle regardless, but the poor outings from the relievers in April sealed that fate.
It certainly wasn't going to be easy after the bullpen lost Sean Marshall and Andrew Cashner to trades, while Jeff Samardzija moved into a rotation spot. There were no significant additions, unless you count Shawn Camp's signing at the end of spring training.
Still, the group's highlight moment came May 18 when Kerry Wood struck out the White Sox's Dayan Viciedo on three pitches and walked off into retirement.
Wood finished his career with an 86-75 record and a 3.67 ERA. As a reliever, he was 15-20 with a 3.59 ERA and 63 saves. But in 2012, he struggled to an 0-2 record and an 8.31 ERA in 10 appearances.
Wood's struggles and subsequent retirement were indicative of a nagging shoulder injury that forced him to the disabled list in April. The rest of the bullpen didn't have a similar excuse, especially early in the season.
In the process, the Cubs appeared to take full advantage of a new rule that allows teams to bring up a 26th player for doubleheaders that are scheduled well in advance. The Cubs and Reds are making up a game that was rained out on May 1.
On Monday the Cubs optioned Raley back to Iowa knowing they would bring him back up for his next scheduled start. By making the roster move when they did they were able to bolster the bullpen by adding Michael Bowden, who pitched two scoreless innings Friday.
Under normal circumstances Raley wouldn’t be able to return so quickly, but the new 26-man doubleheader rule left no stipulation that he couldn’t be brought back up in five days.
After Saturday’s doubleheader is completed, Raley is expected to remain on the roster and a reliever likely will be sent down.
Left-hander Brooks Raley was optioned back to Triple-A Iowa while right-hander Michael Bowden had his contract selected.
Since the Cubs will need Raley again to start one of the games in Saturday’s day-night doubleheader at Cincinnati, he is expected to be recalled then. Starting this season, teams can have a 26-man roster for doubleheaders and Raley is expected to be that addition with a reliever expected to be sent back down before Sunday’s game.
Camp made his major-league leading 58th appearance in Sunday’s game against the Reds. Russell is tied for third in all of baseball with 56 appearances.
“Their appearances have been full innings too,” manager Dale Sveum. “It’s not a situation where they come in for one hitter for the most part. They’ve gotten their three outs all year long in those appearances. We really have to be careful with them pitching when we’re behind in games and stuff like that now.”
Among relievers, Camp is sixth in the National league with 58 innnings, while Russell is tied for 13th with 52 2/3 innings.
Bowden, who was acquired from the Red Sox on April 21 for Marlon Byrd, is making his second big league appearance with the Cubs this season. He had a 6.39 ERA in 12 major league appearances with the Red Sox and Cubs earlier this season.
He was much improved at Triple-A Iowa, though, posting a 2.76 ERA in 23 relief appearances. The Aurora, Ill., native did not allow a run in his four August appearances, limiting opponents to a .043 batting average over 7 1/3 innings.
To get Bowden back on the 40-man roster, Ian Stewart was placed on the 60-day disabled list. Stewart had surgery on his left wrist July 10 and is expected to miss the remainder of the season.
To make room for Bowden on the 40-man roster, Ian Stewart was shifted to the 60-day disabled list.
Bowden went 3-2 with two saves and a 2.76 ERA in 23 relief appearances for Iowa. He had a 6.39 ERA with the Cubs and Red Sox before being optioned on June 1.
Raley is 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA with the Cubs this season.
Ascencio, 28, had a 5.96 ERA in 18 games with 21 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings with the Indians this season. He will replace Bowden, a Waubonsie Valley High School product who was sent to Chicago in the Marlon Byrd trade with the Boston Red Sox.
Bowden has a 7.45 ERA in 10 games with the Cubs.
”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 .
It was as if the Oswego, Ill., resident bought a $1 lottery ticket not really thinking he would win, but just to have a chance to go through the what-ifs. Turns out his number did come up when the Chicago Cubs team he rooted for as a boy acquired him in a trade Saturday, sending Marlon Byrd and cash to Boston.
“This past week has felt like forever,” said Bowden, who was designated by the Red Sox on April 15. “Every single day from the first day I was taken off [the Red Sox’s roster] I was waiting for a phone call. There was just the anticipation of that.”
After sitting around in Boston for two days weighing his options, Bowden called the Red Sox to let them know he was driving home. With all that time to think on the open road, thoughts of the Cubs ran through his head.
Lopez was designated for assignment by the Cubs, just as Bowden was by the Boston Red Sox before he was traded Saturday, along with a player to be named later, for Marlon Byrd and cash considerations.
“If he clears waivers and everything, we want to keep [Lopez] in the organization and put him in the rotation down in Triple-A,” manager Dale Sveum said. “Hopefully that happens and he elects to go down there as well.”
The Cubs acquired right-handed reliever Michael Bowden from the Boston Red Sox on Saturday in the deal that sent Marlon Byrd to Boston. With the right-handed Bowden joining the roster Monday, somebody in the bullpen has to go.
The deal that sent Marlon Byrd to the Red Sox for Michael Bowden and a player to be named later on Saturday is first stage of the Cubs’ overall plan to get younger -- and more athletic -- moving forward.
General manager Jed Hoyer said Saturday that the discussions about dealing Byrd had been on-going for months. Numerous clubs -- including the Nationals, Braves and Red Sox -- had inquired about the veteran outfielder. Boston hopped into the talks at the end of spring training. Conversations became more intense when Boston lost Carl Crawford and later Jacoby Ellsbury to injuries.
The Cubs, according to a major league source, will pay off a significant amount of Byrd’s $6.5 million 2012 salary.
Bowden a native of Aurora, Ill., was drafted by the current Cub front office when president Theo Epstein and Hoyer worked as a unit in Boston in 2005. Bowden will work out of the bullpen when he joins the team on Monday. The Cubs have also been given a list of young pitchers by the Red Sox that they will scout. At some point in May, they will choose one pitcher to complete the trade.
Although this move, in essence, starts the process of moving out a veteran to make room for the star players in the organization’s minor league system, don’t look for Brett Jackson to be on the North Side too soon. (I touched on this topic earlier on Saturday.)
“He is playing hard in the minor leagues,” Hoyer said of Jackson. “This is still early in his Triple-A career, and he still has work to do.”
Hoyer didn’t say that Jackson would spend the entire season at Iowa. Baring injuries on the major league roster, however, it’s safe to assume the 23-year-old outfielder will stay in the minors until the All-Star Break.
Look for the new front office to keep moving veterans throughout the 2012 campaign as the names and numbers continue to change at Clark and Addison.