5/9 Cubs Inbox
As we celebrate the anniversary of the last cycle by a Cubs batter (Mark Grace, May 9, 1993, vs. the Padres), it’s time for a Cubs Inbox. Have a question? Send it to: CubsInbox@gmail.com. Here goes.
Q: Who leads Major League Baseball in blown saves since 2008 — individual and by team — and where do the Cubs and Carlos Marmol rank? I know it’s not a friendly stat but I am curious. — Steve T., Phoenix, AZ
A: Here you go:
Most blown saves: 2008-13
1. Heath Bell, Jonathan Broxton, Chad Qualls, 30 each
4. Kevin Gregg, 29
5. J.J. Putz, 27
6. Carlos Marmol, 26
7. Juan Carlos Oviedo, 24
8. Rafael Betancourt, Tyler Clippard and Jonathan Papelbon, 23 each
12. Jon Rauch and Fernando Rodney, 22 each
Most blown saves, teams 2008-2013
1. Brewers, 123 blown saves
2. Nationals, 121
3. Orioles, 119
4. Marlins, 117
5. Rockies and Mets, 113
7. Mariners, 112
8. Angels, 111
9. Cubs and Cardinals, 110
This season, the Diamondbacks have two pitchers who lead MLB in blown saves: J.J. Putz (4) and David Hernandez (3). The Cubs’ Shawn Camp and Carlos Marmol both have two blown saves. Here are the individual leaders since ’08:
2012: John Axford, Brewers, 9 blown saves (Marmol 3)
2011: Marmol, 10 (tied with Angels’ Jordan Walden, 10)
2010: Tyler Clippard, Nationals, 10 (Marmol 5)
2009: Brad Lidge, Phillies, 11 (Marmol 4)
2008: Manuel Corpas, Rockies, and Kevin Gregg, Marlins, 9 each (Marmol 2)
2012: Brewers, 29 blown saves (Cubs 21 blown saves)
2011: Nationals, 27 blown saves (Cubs 24)
2010: Orioles, 27 blown saves (Cubs 14)
2009: Mariners, 28 blown saves (Cubs 18)
2008: Mariners, 31 blown saves (Cubs 24)
Q: Carlos Marmol had all spring to get it together. I say, release him, and bring up Chris Rusin. What say you? — Louis M., San Marcos, CA
A: Marmol went through the same rough start last year. The difference this season is that Dale Sveum acted sooner. Since the May 4 game against the Reds, Marmol has made two appearances, given up two hits and walked one over 2 1/3 innings, and has not allowed a run. It seems he needs to hit rock bottom. Last season, Marmol was able to get back on track after the All-Star break, posting a 1.52 ERA in 30 games, and going 12-for-13 in save situations. Marmol has to realize he’s not unhittable.
“He thinks that guys are going to swing at every pitch out of his hand, and he tries to make every pitch a two-strike pitch and that’s part of the problem,” pitching coach Chris Bosio said of the right-hander. “He tries to bury the pitch and overthrow the pitch. He needs to back off. A lot of times, doing too much can be a deterrent. You’re not relaxed, you’re not getting the spin on the ball, you’re not working over the top of the ball, you’re working under the ball. Get him to relax and get him to where he was the second half of last year. That’s where we all want him to be and that’s where he wants to be.”
This is the last year of Marmol’s three-year contract, and he is being paid $9.8 million. It’s too early in the year to just dump him. He’s one of the seven pitchers in the Cubs’ bullpen, and Bosio and Sveum have to figure out a way for him to contribute.
As for Rusin, I’d keep him at Triple-A Iowa and let him develop as a starter. He has a bright future.
Q: I’m wondering why Scott Hairston is not being considered an every day outfielder after hitting 20 home runs last year? How many at-bats is he projected to get this year? — Anthon S., Seattle
A: I can’t give you a number for how many at-bats Hairston will get this year but do know he hasn’t done enough to warrant every day status. Hairston batted .172 (10-for-58) this spring, and he’s batting .132 (5-for-38) so far. Plus, he’s been used in a platoon against left-handed pitchers, and is 3-for-30 and all three hits have been home runs.
Q: After this year, what will happen to Fitch Park and HoHoKam Stadium in Mesa? Do the Cubs own either facility? Would any other Major League team be interested in coming in and rehabbing the facilities? — Don W., Simpsonville, SC
A: The Athletics will be moving into HoHoKam and Fitch after signing a 20-year lease with the city. However, there won’t be spring games scheduled there for 2014. The A’s have plans to do some remodeling at HoHoKam, including widening the seats, installing a video scoreboard and updating the clubhouse. The Cubs have to remove all of their stuff from the two facilities at the end of this year.
Q: I just wanted to say, three years ago, I got a 4×4 Cubs alternate jersey logo tattooed over my heart. I cannot wait to put “World Champions” over it when we win it all. — Chuck L., Janesville, WI
A: I’m sure the Cubs appreciate the support but I think I would’ve gone with “Mom” instead.