The Chicago Cubs were on the brink of a three game sweep by the Miami Marlins yesterday. Jeff Samardzija had allowed a guy with two home runs this season to hit his third, a grand slam, to put the Marlins ahead 6-3. I was ready to give up on the game and take a nap, but decided I’d be better off staying awake to watch Orange is the New Black. I left the game on the computer and witnessed the comeback, capped by Donnie Murphy’s two-run home run in the seventh to lead the Cubs to a 9-7 victory.
Murphy is now batting .333 (11-for-33) from the seventh inning on, with six home runs and 10 RBIs.
“I’ve come through in those situations before, and for some reason, I’m comfortable in them,” Murphy said. “It’s not pressure on me, it’s the pitcher who has to throw the ball over the plate.”
The Cubs are now tied with the Orioles for most home runs hit at home with 94. The only team with a worse home record in MLB is Houston. But back to Samardzija. What happened out there?
“It comes down to fastball command,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “If you can’t keep the fastball down, you’re going to give up slugging percentage and things like that.”
For the record, the home run to Hechavarria was off a cutter. But Samardzija didn’t disagree he needs to be better with his fastball.
“I probably need to throw it a little more, too,” he said.
The Hechavarria grand slam was one of two Jeff allowed, totalling six runs in six innings.
The Cubs welcomed two new relievers to the team yesterday, the first being elderly Korean Chang-Yong Lim.
“Obviously, ‘The Curse’ for a hundred years,” Lim said through the translator. “I heard about it. Hopefully, we can make a change.”
At the age of 37, Lim has already played in Korea and Japan and undergone two Tommy John surgeries. He pitched for South Korea in the 2000 Summer Olympics and the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He views Major League Baseball as the next frontier.
The Cubs bid adieu to Michael Bowden to make room for Lim on the roster. Then, they jettisoned Cole Gillespie to make room for Daniel Bard, who they claimed off waivers from the Red Sox.
Cubs executives Theo Epstein and Jason McLeod ran the Red Sox draft in 2006, when they selected Bard with the 28th overall pick out of the University of North Carolina. Bard emerged as an elite setup guy between 2009 and 2011, putting up a 2.88 ERA with 213 strikeouts in 197 innings.
“We got a big power arm and Theo has a lot of confidence in him,” manager Dale Sveum said. “This guy was one of the best – if not the best – not too long ago.”
One reason Bard was available is because he allowed 27 walks and 14 hits in 15.1 innings pitched in the minors this season. So Chris Bosio has some work to do.