5/4 Marmol out as closer
When your closer leads the team in walks, that’s not a good sign. Dale Sveum had seen enough, and called Carlos Marmol into his office on Friday to tell the right-hander that for now, he was no longer the Cubs closer.
“I just told Marmol be ready to pitch at any time,” Sveum said Friday. “It just got to that point to where we have to get him productive in some role. He was fine with it and understood. Hopefully, we can get him going and give him another chance.”
Part of the problem is that Marmol keeps throwing the slider and on Thursday in Cincinnati, might have escaped the mess in the ninth with a well located fastball. Bottom line, he has to throw strikes. Against the Reds, Marmol blew a 3-0 lead and gave up three runs, and the Cubs eventually lost, 4-3, in 10 innings. He has now walked 12 over 8 2/3 innings.
James Russell and rookie Rafael Dolis will share the duties, depending on matchups.
“You always hope somebody steps up and takes control of any situation and any role you give somebody,” Sveum said. “It’s not the easiest thing to do in the world, to get the last three outs in the game. We’re going to play it by ear and whatever matchups come up in the ninth inning, that’s who we’ll use.”
Using Russell in that role will severely limit the Cubs. He’s the only left-hander. Sveum is stuck because the Cubs want to keep Rule 5 pick Lendy Castillo, who is trying to make the jump from Class A to the big leagues, and neither Michael Bowden nor Shawn Camp have options left.
Will Marmol ever get his job back?
“He knows he has to get better and find it,” Sveum said. “I left that window open for him. If he starts pitching well and getting command back and stuff like that, there’s no reason I wouldn’t put him back in the closing role if he finds it again.”
Sveum continued his conversation with Marmol in left field during batting practice, and then Kerry Wood talked to Marmol on the field as well Friday.
– Carrie Muskat