NLDS: Bullpen Ranking According to Level of Blind Terror

Thursday, October 2, 2008

NLDS: Bullpen Ranking According to Level of Blind Terror

. Thursday, October 2, 2008

Mental Polaroid of many Cubs fans - not WAIW, though

I, for one (and perhaps Steve for two, but that's it) do not think it's time to panic. I swear I think I saw a stockbroker in a Soto jersey jumping out of a window on my drive to work. Of course, I live on the North Side, so I suppose none of the buildings are high enough to do more than sprain an ankle.

Since too much of Cubs nation seems to be relying on fear rather than hope, I've decided to finish my playoff roster previews with a terror-based look at our bullpen. Honestly, what good is a bullpen if not for supplying giddy highs and terrifying lows? So, ranked according to terror, here is your 2008 playoff bullpen.

Carlos Marmol

That's right, Carlos. Punch them in their colons!

This Year: He came out as the best reliever in baseball, but then had one of the worst months ever, capped by a 5-run ninth that nearly lost Harden's first game as a Cub. He then made the All-Star team (?!?) and has been relatively kickass since (114 strikeouts in 87 1/3 innings).

Terror Level
: When he's good, things are great. When something goes wrong, it's an unforgettable nightmare. Like accidentally pooping during sex.

Kerry Wood

Who's that other guy?

This Year: The goateed Texan had an up and down year, helped out immensely by the long, fond memories of longtime Cubs fans who could finally de-mothball those 34 jerseys. When he's not hitting batters and making save situations into cardiac episodes, he combines with Marmol to form some sort of awesome closer Voltron.

Terror Level
: He has a disturbing tendency to give hits away after earning a 0-2 or 1-2 count. When we're on a tightrope above crushing defeat, it's not something I want to see. Still haven't cursed his name like I did closer Dempster in '07 (and like many of you are now), but I'm not always sold, either. Let's call this one "I walked into the wrong bar and hillbilles are staring at me" fear.

Jeff Samardzija

Jeffy Cakes is by no means a heartthrob, at best settling for the title of Best Looking Guy in the Comic Book Store

This Year: After being talked about as a future star since being drafted by the club out of Notre Dame, Jeffy Cakes finally got his shot in the bigs. He proved a welcome relief from Bob Howry, Michael Wuerst, and Neal Cotts down the stretch, but people bought the hype way too early. For all the ND/Cubs jerseys we see down on Clark, he only appeared in 26 games during the regular season. At times, he was madly inconsistent or even downright crappy. He deserved a spot on the playoff roster, but perhaps not the constant OTPHJs from nostalgic (and often obnoxious) ND fans.

Terror Level: When he's on, he can take the pressure off the rest of the bullpen by going 2 innings in relief. When he's not, he's got about as much command of the strike zone as Helen Keller had of her vocal chords. Watching him pitch in this condition is like watching a todder stand up in a cart at Jewel and reach for Oreos while its white trash mother tries to figure out how to buy Newports with food stamps.

Sean Marshall

Pat: "Ron, it appears Sean Marshall is calling to the bullpen himself. This can't be good"
Ron: "Ohhhh, no. Nooooooo. Oh no. This doesn't look good, Pat."

This Year: Marshall is undeniably talented, but often struggles to adapt to the role he's asked to play. Yes, he's supposed to be a starter, but we're loaded on starters, so sucks to be you - enjoy long relief. His 60 hits in 65 1/3 innings won't comfort fans much in close games. Especially if he's on the mound because the starter blew up. A respectable 3.86 ERA, but certainly no game breaker. He's sort of a victim of circumstances, as you're usually seeing Marshall come in when something terrible happens to the previous pitcher.

Terror Level:I'll equate this to the fear one has for a relative falling down the stairs based on another relative having fallen down the stairs. Or maybe the fear of a relative falling in the shower while you're around and you having to hoist a naked senior citizen out of a sudsy tub of horror.

Jason Marquis

Scouting Report: Meh

This Year: He played much better than expected - especially during the second half of the year, thus earning his first playoff roster spot in a long while. Still, he does have a tendency to ... how do you say ... suck ass, at times. With a current 9.00 playoff ERA (as of this morning), I'm sure people are pining after that relatively anorexic 4.53 of the season.

Terror Level: Fear of the inevitable, along with the hope it might not be that bad when it happens. Fear of sharting, let's say.

Neal Cotts

Neal Cotts: 35 IP, 30 pissed off mound visits from Lou

This Year: Completely awesome when you don't need him to do much. Absolute ass when you're counting on him. After watching more than my fair share of games, I'd say Cottsy is the king of the "walk one batter and get yanked" tactic. In 2005 with the White Sox, he posted a 1.94 ERA through 60.3 innings (about twice what he got this year). How the hell did that happen? Also, he went to Illinois State, so there's a 68 percent chance he has chlymidia.

Terror Level: 17 earned runs in 35 innings means he spreads runs around like the students of Illinois State University spread chlymidia. Let's call this terror level "oh crap, I may have chlymidia."

Bob Howry

When does funny/sad become sad/sad?

This Year: Have you read this blog at all during the regular season? Bob Howry is a disease to our bullpen, somewhat like (ERROR: Too many chlymidia references). Considering he's earning a hefty $4 million paycheck, his 5.35 ERA is unconscionable. I'm pretty sure his pitching this year is grounds for a class-action lawsuit from Cubs fans. What happened to all the "oh, he's just a slow starter. Gotta give him innings" people?I'm almost certain he'd be better if he started pitching with his other arm. Or started throwing screwballs. Or tossed underhand.

Terror Level: The other night, I woke from a nightmare with sweat cascading down my back and a scream of horror caught in my throat. I couldn't remember if I was dreaming about the inevitable moment when robots become self-aware and begin exterminating humans, or Bob Howry coming in for game 7 of the World Series.

All that being said, I still believe in these guys, and like any of them better than anyone on the damn Dodgers. Toast one tonight to our Boys in Blue evening the score, and Go Cubs Go!


gowoody said...

Thanks for the run-down. As much as I used to like looking at Bobbys chisled features, now I dread the sight of him walking to the mound. Why he is on the playoff roster and not a half a dozen other guys (Guzman, Gaudin and Wertz for three) that are better is quite a mystery.