6/14 Recap – Marcum Struggles As Mets Fall to Cubs 6 – 3


Shaun Marcum’s finest outing of the season arguably came in relief last week during the Mets and Cardinals twenty inning marathon. In that game, Shaun entered in the twelfth and proceeded to pitch the next eight innings, walking no batters, and striking out seven. He pitched seven shutout innings and allowed just two hits before climbing the hill for the game’s closing frame. That’s when Miami finally touched Marcum for three consecutive singles and a run. When the Mets failed to tie in the bottom of the twentieth, Shaun Marcum was charged with his seventh loss of the season.

Marcum had suffered through hard luck over his last four starts previous to last Saturday’s unfortunate ending. He tossed at least six innings during each turn for a total of 26.1 innings, limiting the opposition to twenty-two hits, walked only four batters, and struck out twenty-six, highlighted by a twelve strikeout performance against Atlanta on May 26th.

The Mets entered the tonight’s opener of their weekend series against the N. L. Central last place Chicago Cubs, with a .224 team batting average – the worst mark in baseball. They amazingly have mustered but one victory (1-4) during this current home stand, and began Friday with a 2-7 record in June. For game one, and making his tenth appearance of the season, Shaun climbed the hill again with a 4.96 ERA, still in search of his first victory of the season. He was opposed by Chicago Cubs’ starter Edwin Jackson, who brought a 2-8 record into the game, with a 5.78 ERA, and seemed like an opportune opponent, with regards towards getting things turned around at Citi Field.

Which is why it was refreshing to see Marcum open the night by striking out leadoff hitter David DeJesus. He followed that up by getting Starlin Castro to ground out before surrendering a first inning home run to Nate Schierholtz before retiring Alfonso Soriano to end the top half of the first.

Jun 14, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Shaun Marcum (38) pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning of a game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In semi-symmetrical fashion, Cubs starter Edwin Jackson opened the night by striking out Jordany Valdespin, also on the fifth pitch. Daniel Murphy popped out before David Wright laced a two-out single to right center field. Lucas Duda would then strike out to leave him there.

Anthony Rizzo blooped a single to open the second inning, followed by a single by backup catcher Dioner Navarro. A four pitch walk to Luis Valbueno then loaded the bases with no one out. Darwin Barney became the fourth straight Cub to reach base, lacing a sharp single to center field and bring in the second Chicago run. David DeJesus then ripped a bases-clearing triple to right center to break the game open and make it 5-0 Cubs. Marcum would get the next two outs to end the carnage there.

Marlon Byrd reached base after getting drilled by a Jackson fastball, but was erased when John Buck grounded into the 4-6-3 double play. Omar Quintanilla struck out to move the game to the third.

Juan Lagares led off the third base with a triple to right center. David DeJesus crashed into the  center field wall trying to make the play and went down with what looks to be a serious shoulder injury. Though he didn’t make the glove, the crash looked very reminiscent of the Mike Baxter catch in Johan Santana‘s no-hitter, though DeJesus seemed to be running much faster. After a few moments, DeJesus was able to walk off the field, in clear pain, under his own power. Ryan Sweeney came on to replace him in center field.

The Cubs brought the infield in for Shaun Marcum, who popped up on the first pitch. After Jordany Valdespin popped up, Daniel Murphy was able to cash in the run with a sharp single up the middle. David Wright then walked to bring up Lucas Duda, who struck out swinging again to end the threat.

Marcum retired the side in order in the fourth, coaxing soft fly balls from Valbuena, Barney, and Jackson, throwing only eight pitches. Marlon Byrd opened the bottom of the fourth with an infield hit to third. John Buck, on a 1-0 pitch, flied out to deep right center, coming a few feet shy of his twelfth home run of the season. Omar Quintanilla then drew a walk off Jackson before Lagares flied out to the warning track in left center. Shaun Marcum came to bat for himself and lifted one to left field to end any threat.

The first five outs of the fifth inning went quickly with each pitcher collecting a strikeout before David Wright ripped his second single of the night. Lucas Duda worked a full count once again, but this time was able to check his swing and work a walk to bring Marlon Byrd to the plate. Byrd became Edwin Jackson’s sixth strikeout victim of the evening, pushing the total to eight Mets stranded over the first five innings.

Marcum opened the sixth with a strikeout, but his streak of 12 consecutive batters retired was broken when Anthony Rizzo laced a one-out double. Luis Valbuena would knock him in one out later to push another run across the plate and end Marcum’s night. David Aardsma came in and got a quick fly out to end the frame.

John Buck struck out, Omar Quintanilla grounded to first, and Juan Lagares to second to end the sixth without incident. David Aardsma continued into the seventh, striking out pinch hitter Julio Borbon (signaling the end of Edwin Jackson’s quality start) in an otherwise uneventful inning.

Collin Cowgill, coming to the plate for the first time since his return to the bigs, led off the bottom half with a double to right center. Justin Turner pinch hit for Valdespin and lined sharply to short for the first out. After Cowgill advanced to third on a ball in the dirt, Daniel Murphy once again did Daniel Murphy things and drove him in on another single. David Wright lined another single, his third, to bring up Lucas Duda with one out. After quickly falling back 0-2, Duda lined an RBI single to left. Instead of first and third with the one out, David Wright was gunned down easily at third base. Byrd followed suit with a strikeout to end the seventh inning, but the Mets got back within striking distance at 6-3.

Josh Edgin was the next Met pitcher in tonight’s game, retiring the first two hitters before Anthony Rizzo lined his third hit, a single, into center. A Dioner Navarro single to left was played in well by Duda, whose quick throw kept Rizzo at second. Edgin was able to buckle down, striking out Luis Valbuena to end the threat.

Buck, leading off the eighth against Carlos Marmol received a second chance after a pop-up was eventually missed by Anthony Rizzo. He extended the at bat but came up empty as he ended up grounding back to Marmol. The Mets would soon be done again, as Quintanilla popped out and Juan Lagares struck out to send it to the ninth.

The ninth inning, pitched cleanly by Greg Burke, featured a cameo by Scott Hairston (who pinch hit for Marmol). He struck out swinging, and is hitting  .153/.200/.353 in 95 plate appearances in 2013.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis pinch hit for Burke, and struck out once again. He’s now 0 for his last 21, and has struck out 14 times in 28 at bats this year. Justin Turner flied out to center, and Daniel Murphy grounded out to end it.

Jun 14, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets first baseman Daniel Murphy (28) hits an RBI single against the Chicago Cubs during the seventh inning of a game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports


> I hope for the best for David DeJesus. He was in a lot of pain when he went down, but was able to muster a smile coming off the field.

> Very discouraging outing from Shaun Marcum. Up until today, he had been very effective recently, especially in his last outing when he pitched eight excellent innings in relief of Matt Harvey. Hopefully Marcum can get back on the right track quickly, or else the veteran’s job may be at risk with Zack Wheeler on his way to Queens.

> David Wright is turning up the heat, with another 3 hits tonight. He’s now hitting .357/.413/.547 in June.

> Daniel Murphy, returning to the 2-hole in the lineup, went 2-5 with a pair of RBI.


Once again, as soon as the Mets fell behind it felt like the game was out of reach. Though they hammered out 9 hits, they never were able to sustain a rally against Edwin Jackson or the exhausted Cubs bullpen. The offense is miserable right now, and with Marcum struggling in the second inning the game was out of reach early. The shame, too, is that Marcum largely cruised after that, retiring 12 in a row at one point. Though the Mets have a vested interest in Marcum staying in the rotation, at some point the conversation has to shift toward his security with Zack Wheeler entering the rotation next week. Dillon Gee has been dominant, Hefner has been consistently solid, Marcum has been up and down. His next start, at Atlanta, has to loom large for him.

The series continues tomorrow at 1:10 as Jonathon Niese takes the hill against Scott Feldman.