How many times do the Cubs go up against a young starting pitcher and come up empty? It's already happened several times this season. It seems to happen more than it should. Sunday in Cincinnati it was the Reds that came up empty against a pitching prospect wearing blue.
Sundays win, a 9-3 beating of the Reds, gave the Cubs 3 of 4 in Cincinnati and a glimpse of hope for their future. The glimpse of hope came in the form of 23 year old Dominican pitcher Carlos Marmol. Marmol, one of the Cubs brighter pitching prospects, looked good in his six innings at the band box they call Great American Ballpark. Making his first career start the young right hander fanned 7 Reds allowing 2 hits, 3 walks and 1 earned run. Of the 99 pitches Marmol threw, 65 were strikes.
Marmol is the fifth rookie pitcher to start a game this season for the Cubs. He joins Sean Marshall in making the jump from double-A West Tenn to the majors. I'm not going to annoint Marmol the next great Cub starting pitcher. But the conveted position player showed something in his first start.
Mercifully, only 100 games remain in the 2006 season. The Cub record stands at 26-36. This fan has found it harder and harder to watch games this season. Any self-respecting Cub fan realized months ago that it was just another season of wait 'til next year. In the next 100 games the Cubs as an organization have the opportunity to find the young players that they want to be part of a revamped team in 2007 and 2008. If the Cubs can find two young starting pitchers to joing Zambrano in the rotation in the coming years, maybe 2006 will not be as bad as we thought at the time we were watching it.