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Baseball Tue Aug 04 2009

Gorzelanny Wins in Cubs Debut

In many ways, the Cubs' 2009 could be considered far from lucky. From injuries, to the bats falling asleep for nearly two months, to a shaky bullpen, it has not necessarily been a dream season. But the Cubs can consider themselves extremely lucky as far as substitute starting pitching has gone. Sean Marshall originally started the year as the fifth starter, but when Carlos Zambrano went to the DL early in the season, Randy Wells proved to be more than a suitable fill in and too good to send back to the minors once Zambrano returned. The move even worked well for Marshall, who has gone on to post the lowest ERA of any left handed reliever in the National League since being moved out of the starting rotation to make room for Wells.

Later, when usually extremely durable Ted Lilly went to the DL, Kevin Hart was called up and had a 2.86 ERA in four starts. Tom Gorzelanny, who came to the Cubs in a trade that sent Hart to the Pittsburgh Pirates, has done his part, so far, to continue the Cubs good luck in replacement starting pitching. Gorzelanny pitched an effective 7.1 innings in his Cubs debut on Tuesday night, getting the win over the Cincinnati Reds 6-3. He allowed one inherited earned run, three hits and one walk against a Reds team that struggles to score in general.

Ultimately, Gorzelanny's role is only temporary as Ted Lilly is set to return to the rotation in mid to late August. His debut also added to the Cubs' stretch of strong starting pitching, who have a record of 12-1 since the All Star break. How he will continue to pitch until Lilly returns is questionable, as Gorzelanny has an up and down career, but he should at least be a suitable fifth starter in the mean time. When Lilly does return, Gorzelanny will most likely be moved to the bullpen, which could possibly strengthen what has been suspect relief pitching at times, particularly during the first five games of their current road trip. The Cubs will look for their second sweep of the Reds in two weeks on Wednesday at 6:10. Rich Harden, who has a 1.50 ERA so far in the second half of the season, will start for the Cubs while Justin Lehr will make his second start of the season for the Reds.

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