Frankly, I applaud Mike Quade for going back to Carlos Marmol for the 9th today – *assuming* they decided there was nothing physically or mechanically wrong with him before the game. The best time to erase the memory of an awful performance before it takes root and becomes something more sinister is the very next day. Unfortunately, after today, Marmol might be growing an awful tree in his mind.

The outcome wasn’t nearly as awful, but it was clear that Carlos Marmol didn’t have it again today. But for a brilliant play in the outfield by Marlon Byrd to cut down Hanley Ramirez at second base, Marmol would have given up the tying run with just one out. As it was, Marmol couldn’t get it done, and, to his credit, Mike Quade was ready with the very short leash.

  • die hard

    now we need a closer?….plenty of candidates…..Marmol looks tired…and overweight…..wonder what would happen if we used him like other teams use theirs….bring in only to get last out….

  • Joe

    Dempster kicked ass in this game. And hopefully this means Marmol is getting his stuff back. I know he didn’t strike anyone and got two out thanks to Byrd, but his pitches were a lot closer this time.

    • TWC

      Yeah. Right. “A lot closer.” But still not in the strike zone.

      Four of those 7 pitches that Morrison fouled off were questionable strikes, but since a foul counts as a strike in a pitcher’s stats the balance was more strikes than balls. I mean, he threw the exact same 83-84 mph slider 11 times in a row! At any rate, he didn’t look good.

      Unless you like your closers pudgy.

  • die hard

    what if we flipp flopped castro and Byrd in lineup….as Castro cannot hit behind runners….or get Barney back at two spot since he is second to Byrd in bat control….by the way…..Big Q at fault for no runs scored in first by not putting on take sign for first two pitches to Ramirez….or heaven forbid ask him to bunt….bunt?!…..not Babe Ruth Ramirez or Joe Dimaggio Pena…or Jimmie Foxx Soriano…..yeeeeeesh

  • philoe beddoe

    Marmol has lost 3-4 mph off of fastball…guys can sit on his slider now that he can’t blow fastball by them…if velocity doesn’t come back…he is toast….

  • kirby

    trade them while they are hot! Demp and Byrd are getting back into form and while they may be good guys, the org needs to capitalize on their strong play that happens to coincide w/ the trade deadline…Demp to ___? Byrd to Pitt?

  • Steve

    Marmol will be fine. He’s going through a tough stretch right now. It’s not like the Cubs are 2 game back, and have a shot at a deep playoff run. Everyone has loved the guy for a couple years. And now he’s a bum? The guy has thrown a ton of innings the last few seasons. Perhaps, it may be catching up with him. He does look a little tired. The man has performed very well in late inning situations for a while now. In fact, yes been one of the best at his roll. The Kerry Wood love-fest is still very much alive and well, correct? Well hell, Marmol does it better than Wood ever did it at the end of a game. Better than any Dempster, Hawkins…and the list goes on. Marmol is hardly the only under-achieving member of this team. Cut the guy some slack. I am sure he’s busting his butt on the field, trying to find an answer to his recent struggles.

  • CapnCub

    Does anyone else think Marshall would be an amazing canidate as a future Cubs closer. Not cause he got the last out, but because he is just that good in short innings.

    • TC

      As good as Marshall is, I dont think he profiles as a closer, with his low 90’s fastball and big, seeping breaking ball. He certainly has shown he’s effective enough to be a decent closer, but I’d much rather see a Chris Carpenter type in the closer role (i.e someone who throws very hard with a good breaking pitch).

      Personally, I’d rather see the team try to stretch him out into a starter for next season. We have few reasonable options for the 5th starter spot next year, especially if Cashner can’t start anymore. I’ve always thought he had the stuff to be a very effective starting pitcher, and his talent is wasting away in the ‘pen. And, yes, he’s been great in the bullpen, but I just feel if he could be half as effective in the rotation as he is in the pen, he would be SO much more valuable to this team.

      (Also, side note, how many left handed closers are there now? or have there ever been? I cant even think of one)

      • CapnCub

        I get what your saying, I have my agreements and disagreements. Overall good point.

      • Jed

        Billy Wagner, John Franco, Tug McGraw, Sparky Lyle, BJ Ryan. Billy Wagner should be a hall of famer too.

        • TC

          yeesh, I forgot about Billy Wagner? that’s pretty damn embarrassing, considering I’ve had him on three seperate fantasy teams….as well as the fact that he’s one of the best closers ever. Mah bad. The rest of the guys, yea, they were good too. Pretty bad mental lapse on my part.

          (for what it’s worth, I didnt make that point to mean that Sean Marshall wouldnt be an effective closer because I couldnt think of any lefty closers. that would be dumb. I just had a brain fart and couldnt think of any for some reason)

  • Kyle N

    Marmol’s situation is quickly becoming hauntingly familiar to what Brad Lidge went through in 2009. A top-notch closer with an electric fastball and a devastating secondary pitch suddenly losing confidence, becoming erratic and ulitmately very hittable. This has only become a recent problem for Marmol, so I’m not saying his season is going up like Lidge’s. However, the psyche of a pitcher (especially a closer) going through this kind of funk can quickly spiral out of control.

    Marmol clearly can’t locate his fastball right now, as evidenced by the number of sliders he is throwing. (Lidge went through the exact same problem, I specifically remember the Baseball Tonight crew pointing out that he threw breaking balls on 25 of 30 pitches at one point in an appearance that resulted in a blown save.) The bases-clearing double last night and the run-scoring single tonight both came after Marmol threw the hitters slider and slider. They know his fastball isn’t even coming close and are simply waiting for him to hang a mistake. He is either doing something different with his delivery (a mental block as a result of his recent ineffectiveness, perhaps?) or there is something physically wrong. (Good lord, I hope not. . .) Either way, he has never been a one-pitch reliever and can’t succeed without both his fastball and slider working.

    It has definitely been a rough stretch, but I’m not ready to take his job away quite yet. Hopefully he can continue to observe film and pinpoint the reason. I admit I was a bit surprised to see that an article was posted about Marmol supposedly getting some time off, only to see him come in to the game.

    • Brett

      To add: it’s not just that Marmol can’t locate his fastball (his location on everything has always been an issue), it’s that it’s down three or four MPH from his career average. That’s a HUGE problem.

      • Kyle N

        You speak the truth sir.

  • muskratwilly

    Have you forgotten about Randy Myers a big lefty that saved 53 games for the 93 Cubs. He was more the typical hard throwing power pitcher.

    • Brett

      Billy Wagner.

    • TC

      Yea, my bad, I was only like two years old then, so he didn’t exactly jump to the front of my mind

  • Toosh

    Read where the Cubs won’t trade Baker. Hope that’s just talk.

  • Coal

    Regarding Marmol – and I was at the nightmare last night and the near-nightmare today – it does seem to me that these closer types tend to feed off of winning teams – when you know you’re regularly going out there to put the game to bed you do better. The Cubs just haven’t had the chance to use him much in that role — think about the lack of 3-game winning streaks, even. This doesn’t explain/excuse his declining velocity but it *could* explain all/part of his control issues. I love Marshall, but I agree that he doesn’t seem to have closer “stuff” or “makeup” — and that he’d better serve the Cubs in an innings eating starting role (think Jason Marquis only lefty, tall, slim….oh, and….good)!

  • Alek

    I got to give Quade at least a little credit today, he had marshall up and ready, and marmol on a short leash. He needs to work himself out of his slump, and im sure he will but at least we saw some decent management decisions today, and not let this game go as well..

  • Ol’CharlieBrown

    Well, damn. I guess it’s not just us fans that have become increasingly concerned about Marmol. I just saw that he has lost his job as the closer for now. Just read this off the Cubs site:

    “For the second straight game, Carlos Marmol was unable to convert a save situation and protect a two-run lead. Cubs manager Mike Quade said the right-hander will take some time to work on his mechanics and has lost his job as the closer for now.”

  • Ol’CharlieBrown

    Oh yea, I wanted to put all my Cubs brethren on notice that I noticed… MLB Extra Innings is having a mid-season free preview July 14-20 on most cable providers. I have Comcast and I’ve really been enjoying getting to watch any game that’s on if I want! I was quite thrilled to be able to see the Cubs game Thursday on CSN, which is a game I typically wouldn’t be able to watch since I don’t get that channel. Excited to be able to see both games this weekend also on CSN. Hopefully we can take the series!

  • awesome

    how many pitches did Dempster have? he should have left him in to at least start the 9th.

    • Brett

      He was at like 115 or so. Too many to go out for the 9th, especially when he’s just a couple starts back from a stomach/back problem.

  • Serio

    Can’t Chris Carpenter close? At least try him in that role whats it going to hurt?

    “Read where the Cubs won’t trade Baker. Hope that’s just talk.”
    Can you post the link? I CAN NOT believe that Baker wont be traded thats amazing to me.

  • Toosh

    Reported at MLBTR by Ken Rosenthal.

    • Brett

      It’s in the bullets this morning. I think Rosenthal is overstating things.

  • Toosh

    I hope so, not that I’m advocating trading Baker. The only untouchable should be Castro and even he needs a lot more seasoning.