OMG Panic About Carlos Marmol!

Carlos Marmol has had back-to-back miserable outings. Worse, he’s clearly frustrated by the struggles, suggesting that it’s not just a matter of him “working on stuff.”

… but it’s just two outings. And it’s Spring. In Arizona. Where Marmol’s best pitch – his devastating slider – is virtually useless.

So, should we panic? No. Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum certainly isn’t. And he went on, at length, to explain why.

“Breaking balls like his aren’t going to do a whole lot here in Arizona,” Sveum said, according to ESPN. “You’re always going to struggle with it, and you’re going to throw it harder and make it spin more and it’s actually a counter effect.

“But I think all along we want him to get his fastball command, [that] is the biggest thing. We know the breaking ball will come back when we head back north. Just mainly getting the fastball, getting work and throwing strikes with the fastball.

“He’s been working as hard as he ever has. The people that have been around him know that he has been working as hard as he ever has. It’s a confidence thing. Don’t try to crank the breaking ball. It’s not going to work in Arizona. There’s no air here.

“Nobody’s breaking balls really break here, that’s why you see a lot of 15-14 games. There are a lot of fastballs and a lot of breaking balls that don’t break that much. He’s just got to be careful to get frustrated with that.”

Sveum doth protest too much? I don’t think so. I think it’s a legitimate explanation, even if a mildly concerning one. You’d like to think your closer could at least still throw strikes, even if he’s limited to throwing a fastball.

The issue there might be mechanical, and Sveum says the Cubs continue to work on it.

“The adjustments are the adjustments,” Sveum said. “But we have to be able to do that out on the mound when we know, ‘The first pitch of the inning I fly right open and the ball goes up and away, and I have to get right back on the mound and make that adjustment.’ Those adjustments have to be made, but we have to slow it down and be able to do it on the mound.”

As long as Marmol is healthy, I don’t plan to be particularly worried until the regular season starts.

When Marmol walks the first two guys after coming on for his first save of the year…

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

38 responses to “OMG Panic About Carlos Marmol!”

  1. Luke

    Pitching numbers in AZ are very hard to interpret because of the thin air factor.  Some balls just don’t break, and that means without seeing the pitcher we have no idea how they actually look.  Besides, we’ll have plenty of time to panic once the season starts.

    1. Stockholm Cubs

      Does that mean that Cubs won’t use Marmol in the southwest during the season? Has that been the case previous seasons as well?

      1. Justin Jabs

        Yeah, I’m wondering that a bit too.

        1. SirCub

          Hmm… remember the 2007 NLDS in Arizona? Maybe that had something to do with it.

  2. Fishin Phil

    If he were just having a bad spring, I wouldn’t care at all. Coupled with his craptastic season in 2011, I am a bit concerned.

    1. SirCub

      When good players have bad springs, it is no cause for concern. When bad players have great springs, it is no cause for rejoice.

      When bad players have bad springs…

  3. florida Al

    el trade to miami…

  4. Stinky Pete

    Is that why we were swept in 2007?

    1. DocWimsey

      No, the Cubs were facing a better team: like 75+% of LDS series, the team that played better in September won. You expect 30% of those to be sweeps just by chance alone.

      1. Steve

        Thats 105% no?

        1. Andrew

          math troll

      2. DocWimsey

        30% of 75% is a little less than 105%……

        1. Mike Foster

          Doc, that’s because it’s Pi Day, right?

          1. DocWimsey

            May the circumference of happiness be ever irrational!

            Hey Brett, you should put up the i and pi pic again…..

  5. Kyle

    Unrelated: Jacob Turner, who I was dying to get in a Garza trade, is being shut down with shoulder problems.

    1. Richard Nose

      I can’t tell if it’s good or bad that the c*r$e is rubbing off on anyone the Cubs talk about now.

  6. Norm

    What is different about Marmol today that we didn’t know last September?

    1. TWC

      Is this a koan?

    2. hardtop

      his butt is slightly smaller

  7. Eric

    I do know that Arizona is gonna hurt the movement on Marmo’s OS stuff which is his best stuff. So overall what you want to watch is, is his fastball hitting the strikezone? Is he painting the corners well? IE: is is command good? Overall I don’t expect much out of Marmol, I just have an irrational fear it’s all downhill from here. But his ST so far isn’t the only reason.

  8. rocky8263

    Dew point is another factor in Arizona baseball.

  9. mark

    Panic? Not me! Seen it before, learned to live with it.

  10. Spencer

    lol on the Bottom Line on ESPN today:
    Top three relief pitchers on the decline:
    #1 – Carlos Marmol

  11. JungleDrew

    Im sorry but this whole article would be far more reassuring if the pic. was the cover of “The hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy”

  12. Cubbies4Life

    Yeah… dew point. And moon phase.