The patience that Chicago Cub fans promised to show when Theo Epstein was hired as the new President of Baseball Operations did not last long at all. In fact, the patience they promised to show the new regime last just about two full games against the Washington Nationals before the collective head of Cubbie Nation blew up. Some fans, not all, have already had enough of this ball club and are throwing out insults at the new manager of the team Dale Sveum. No one is escaping the wrath of the fans, not Carlos Marmol and certainly not fan favorite and cult hero Kerry Wood.
These have been two very bad games that have done nothing to help ease the pain that we have all suffered through last year, or the 102 that have come before. To be honest, we have seen 14.2 innings of great pitching with the Cubs looking like they were going to walk away with a win each time. If the bullpen had of come through as they are supposed to, the Cubs should be sitting pretty with a record of 2-0 early in the season. The problem comes in, as was the case last year, when the bullpen comes in to close out a game. In both games, Wood set up the table for a Cubs loss and Marmol helped seal the deal.
On Thursday, Dempster pitched a hell of a game going 7.2 innings allowing two hits and no runs allowed. He left with a man on first, and trusted that the bullpen would be able to seal the deal. However, Wood simply did not have anything working for him. He came in with a runner on, and proceeded to walk three straight batters which forced in the game tying run before he got the final out of the inning. Marmol followed suit and allowed the go ahead run to score spoiling the home opener and sending 40,000 fans home unhappy.
Today, the story was much the same for the Cubs and their fans. Matt Garza pitched well enough to win, allowing two runs over six innings and a two run lead. Time to hand the game off to the bullpen who had the chance to redeem themselves. Rafael Dolis came in to pitch the seventh inning and got the job done, keeping the lead and game well in hand. But then things started to unravel sending fans into an uproar. Wood came out to pitch the 8th inning. Fans everywhere started holding their breath as soon as he came out of the bullpen. After getting the first two outs, a sigh of relief was waiting to be made. That is until Danny Espinosa delivered a homerun to bring the Nationals within one. Two hits later, Sveum removed Wood and brought in the other villain from opening day. Thursday Marmol was bad, today he was even worse. Without even getting an out, Marmol allowed Wood’s two stranded runners to score as well as two of his own before Shawn Camp mercifully ended the inning. After two games, both Wood and Marmol have an inflated ERA of 27.00. Not what you want to see out of your two most important pitchers in your bullpen.
That being said, the fans need to sit back and relax. Yes, these have been two bad losses. These have been two ugly losses which should have been wins. The Cubs should be in a first place tie with everything looking up. I get that you are upset and looking for someone to blame at a very bleak moment in this very young season. But settle down, hold your tongue and take a deep breath. The season is only two games old, there are 160 games left to play. If you get this upset after only two games, you are going to be in for a very long season with a lot of breakdowns ahead of you.
Fans anger is not directed just at the players though, they are targeting both Epstein and Sveum as well. Epstein is once again the target of fans complaints for trading away Sean Marshall and Andrew Cashner. Would the Cubs be 2-0 if they have both these men had been on the team? Perhaps, but Marmol is still the teams closer. Would he have been able to close things out if the pitcher in front of him had not crapped the bed putting additional pressure on him? If you can tell me what would have happened, then you are a better man than I am.
Sveum is also being targeted for bringing both Wood and Marmol into the game after they failed to get things done in the previous game. Fans calling him an idiot, and some already calling for his head. That must be close to a record. Not even Mike Quade lost the fan’s support two games into the season. That shows you just how upset the fans are with the decisions Sveum has made early on in his managing career.
All this anger and hatred is misplaced and uncalled for. You have every right to be upset about the losses, especially with how they lost. But just stop going overboard and over reacting. The season is far too young to be going into a mental breakdown and demanding the heads of various Cubs personnel. Especially the Manager and President of the team. This is going to be a long season, you knew that going into the year. You knew that this team would be struggling not only to compete in the season but as well as in individual games. Two blown saves by Wood (yes he officially gets the blown save both games) and Marmol continuing where he left off last year is going to make you forget what you knew all along?
Take a step back and look at the bigger picture. The Epstein Era is not about the 2012 season. This year is all about biding some time until the kids come up and we clear out some of this payroll. Accept the fact that losses like these will come throughout the season. Live with what has happened and with what will surely happen again. Otherwise just give up, quit watching the Cubs and wait until they start getting better and playing like the team you have been waiting for. That should only take about two more years. There is no need to continue to watch if all you are going to do is to complain about every time this team loses, because they will likely do that at least 90 times if not 100.
Remember what I told you in my predictions blog. Remove your emotions from the team this year and just enjoy the baseball that is being played. Enjoy the game you grew up watching, just take your heart of the game for the season. You will save yourself a lot of aggravation in the long run. But just settle down and take a chill pill.