4/1 Sveum: Marmol’s the closer

Jeff Samardzija looked like an Opening Day veteran, not first-timer. Anthony Rizzo, who didn’t hit a home run in any Cactus League games, launched the first pitch he saw in the regular season out of PNC Park for a two-run blast. And Carlos Marmol was pulled in the ninth and Japanese right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa got the save. The end result: The Cubs held on for a 3-1 win Monday over the Pirates in the season opener and manager Dale Sveum did his best to downplay any closer controversy.

Marmol struck out the first batter he faced in the ninth. But then he hit Andrew McCutchen, who stole second and scored on Pedro Alvarez’s single to center. After Marmol walked Gaby Sanchez, Sveum turned to James Russell, who induced Neil Walker to pop up to to right field. Fujikawa, making his Major League debut, came on to get Russell Martin to fly out to center to earn the save.

“That’s part of the ninth inning,” Sveum said. “Those last three outs are hard to get no matter who’s on the mound. Marmol didn’t really have it today so I went to a couple other guys to get those last two outs.”

Sveum isn’t abandoning Marmol.

“He’s still the closer,” Sveum said. “I’m not making any changes or anything like that, he just didn’t have it today.”

Fujikawa, who was a closer for 12 seasons with Hanshin, is not trying to take Marmol’s job.

“That’s nothing I can control,” he said through interpreter Ryo Shinkawa. “My job is to get the three outs I’m asked for — three outs, four outs.”

Sometimes, one out.

“Lucky man,” Fujikawa said, in English.

Marmol, who threw 19 pitches, nine for strikes, got a visit from pitching coach Chris Bosio after Alvarez’s single. The closer said he was a little surprised to see Sveum after he walked Sanchez.

“That’s why you need teammates, that’s why you need a team, to pick me up,” Marmol said. “That’s what a team does.”

Did he have problems with his command?

“A little bit,” Marmol said. “I felt fine, though. My slider command was good. … It’s one bad day. It happened on the first day.”

— Carrie Muskat


My problem with Sveum’s comments about Marmol is that he said “today.” Actually, Dale, Marmol hasn’t had good stuff for a while. This isn’t a blip. He has problems, and the Cubs organization knows it and there is very little they can do about it. He’s overpaid. And underwhelming. And they’re stuck with him. Trading him is a pipe dream. Today he didn’t cost us, which is a good thing. But tomorrow, who knows. Maybe the Cubs can fix him.

You are absolutely right, Nick. I`ve been saying this for the past two years. According to today`s USA Today newspaper, Marmol is receiving more than $10,000 in salary this season. He is in denial. He has no clue where the ball is going when it leaves his hand

Marmol hasn’t had “it” for many years. If by some miracle he rediscovers (discovers?) “it” for a three-day span, we need to trade him to some idiotic AL club for a package of picks. I’m pretty certain “Fujikawa” is Japanese for “better than Marmol,” so let’s quit this charade and make the switch.

Jeremy, I agree with yourself

Nick, I want to continue with my thought. You saw it today. Marmol has no command. That one out he got, the strikeout was a gift. The batter swung at a pitch which was nowhere near the strike zone, and it would have been ball four. The manager is clueless if he thinks he`s going to get consistent effectiveness from Carlos going forward.

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Sveum has control over who HE selects as the closer so it speaks volumes as to his managing skills. Just because Marmol is on the 24 man roster does not mean Sveum HAS to appoint him closer and if Sveum is sticking with Marmol as closer and it hurts the teams chances to nail down a victory…well…what does that say about Sveum? He’s a company man doing what is expected when it comes to HIGH SALARIED players (can’t bench them because that would make the organization look bad for overpaying the player?) such as Marmol and even Soriano (to a degree). Marmol is the closer until he’s gone and Soriano is the left fielder until HE’S gone…or until Svuem is replaced with a manager that has some baseballs. With that said I GIVE SOME CREDIT to Sveum for pulling Marmol when he did, so maybe Marmol IS Sveum’s closer but with a short leash and that is at least something good about Sveum.

So far your the only one mamma mia! Game 1 and many of you are already pointing out the negative. Was there anyone happy about the win? The team play? The defense? The timely extra base hits? The two Hit & Runs called by Sveum and Cistillo came through with Doubles on both? The two Stolen Bases? The decision to put Fujikawa out there for one out and a successful Save in his 1st appearance? Sherholtz getting on 3 times, Hit, HBP and walk.

The Cubs struck out 15 times and still won the game with only 6 hits. So much positive.

im with you man… i liked the game… loved seeing castro just flat out hit… not overswing… not try to do anything he isn’t meant to do…. hit, get on base, and steal a bag or two……. I LOVE THAT…. when we get better power guys that will be SO SO VALUABLE…. we need to get rid of Marmol and find ourselves a LEADOFF hitter…. a legit LEADOFF hitter

Maybe I am old school mamma mia. I grew up watching Spahn, Koufax, Jenkins, Maricahal and so on. I remember Drysdale and Koufax holding out for 100K a year and pitching complete games, doing their job.
Now these we have sensitive guys like Garza making 10 million a year and cant even start the season because he gets hurt on the 1st day of ST.
Shark went out yesterday and earned not only the victory, but he did what he gets paid to do. Meanwhile, Garza is still enjoying the AZ sun.

Mamma Mia, I respect your concerns, but dont share them. Should the Shark get hurt, at least he goes down like a ML pitcher. Unafraid and respected by his team mates and fans alike. I am also very sure there was constant communication between Shark, Bosio and Sveum on how he felt.
Then you mention Maddux and 20 minutes with him is gold. Texas has ST in AZ also as you know, do you think if a member of the opposite team was to seek out 20 minutes with Maddux, he would say, no?
That also goes into another subject, ex cubs. Maybe not you, but others were irritated that ex Cubs were not hired; examples, Sandberg, Maddux, Grace in the Booth and on & on. I realize ex Cub greats are hero’s to most. I dont see it that way, each season I see 25 guys, playing as a team, trying to reach the Playoff’s. I am very happy ex Cub greats are gone, this is a new organization. drafting and trading for and developing youth. There will be new Hero’s for people coming soon.

100% no reason Sandberg should have got the job just because he was a Cub great…. if Sandberg was the best man for the job Theo would have put him in there… BTW Sandberg is still NOT a ML manager… he could have left and got a ML manager job if he was that ready but he wasn’t …. sorry if the homers can’t see that

It was a great game, and I have been seeing or hearing Cubs openers since 1941. The only blotch was Marmol, but at least the Skipper had the good sense to yank him. As for pitch counts or innings, I don´t understand it. I guess I am “old school,” but the great pitchers of the past didn´t seem to have that problem, and so many of them are deservedly in the HOF. Jeff is arguably one of the greatest true athletes to play the game. Don´t worry about him pitching 100 plus. I am sure he knows his body and is enough of a professional to tell the manager or pitching coach when he feels he has reached his limit.

quite refreshing to see/read some new faces on here…

I second that emotion regarding new posters. We need more of that in spades.

That last remark was intended for Petrey dish, just so there’s no confusion, after disrespecting myself in a prior post.

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