CHICAGO -- They're not tired, or overworked. The Cubs middle relievers just aren't throwing strikes.
"We have to get a little better in the middle," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "It's been a little bit of a problem with control and giving up a lot of hits."
Kevin Hart has walked 10 in 16 innings. Left-hander Sean Marshall is aware of the problem. On Tuesday night, he came in and faced one batter, and walked him.
"I was a little bit off yesterday," Marshall said. "I don't know if there was something with my mechanics or what it was. Hopefully, I'll get in there today and throw strike one, strike two, and get guys out."
It's not as if the Cubs relievers are trying to walk batters.
"My whole mentality is to go right after guys," Marshall said. "Being a lefty and facing lefties, it's hard just to even get hits off me. I'm trying to throw strikes, and yesterday I was a little bit off. I made some improvements today and I'm ready to go out there, and I know the other guys who struggled a little with their command are going to try that much harder to throw strikes."
Before games, Marshall has a flat ground session to warm up, and get a feel for his pitches.
"I feel I have good command of my fastball and slider," he said. "I just have to relay that into a game."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.