Daily Archives: May 3, 2012

Cubs let one Get Away on Getaway Day

The Cubs lost 4-3 in 10 innings to the Reds in Cincinnati.  The loss in itself is not exactly an earth shattering revelation considering the Cubs came into Thursday’s matinee owners of the fewest wins in the Senior Circuit, tied with the San Diego Padres, with nine victories in 25 games.

However, the fashion in which the Cubs lost is what has many Cubs fans fuming.

The return of starter Ryan Dempster, who was activated off the disabled list prior to the game, along with reliever Kerry Wood, pitched a stellar ball game for eight innings.  In his time on the mound, Dempster gave up just three hits and one walk and didn’t allow a single reds run.

Dempster even got some run support which has been avoiding him like the plague in his starts thus far this season.  The Cubs got solo homeruns from Starlin Castro, first baseman Bryan LaHair, and Geovany Soto staking the Cubs to a 3-0 lead.  Seemingly enough for the Cubs to leave the Queen City with a rare win on a day Dempster was dealing.

Rookie manager Dale Sveum faced the decision of whether to extend Dempster beyond his 101 pitches, in his first start off the DL, or turn the game over to the Cubs closer Carlos Marmol.

Marmol has been shaky this year, well actually shaky may be too nice for a closer with a 6.23 e.r.a. and somehow leads the team in walks with 12 despite only pitching one out shy of a complete game.

Nevertheless, Sveum put the ball in Marmol trusting him to get three outs before he let in three runs.

Marmol allowed each of the four batters he faced to reach base, including issuing three more free passes.

Raphael Dolis, a closer for AAA Iowa last year came in to put a tourniquet on the bleeding, and induced a Reds double play, however the tying run scored and the Reds forced the game into extra innings.

Another blown save for Marmol and Ryan Dempster gets a no decision after his eight shutout innings of work.

Dempster is still without a win on the year despite possessing an e.r.a of 0.95.  What else can he do?

At the time I think Sveum made the correct call getting Dempster out after 101 pitches.  He was after all making his first start off the disabled list, and Marmol pitched a perfect ninth in Wednesday’s win.

Any goodwill Marmol earned after his Wednesday outing was quickly forgotten after his meltdown on the mound Thursday afternoon where even if you gave him a map, gps, and a navigator, he couldn’t find the strike zone.

Sveum has opened himself to second guessing after this game and will have to address questions about why he took Dempster out and if he has to find a new closer after another blown save.

My prediction is Marmol will still be the Cubs closer going forward, he is getting paid too much not to be, and no viable options are on the roster to replace him, unless you include Kerry Wood who was also activated off the DL prior to the game.

Can Dolis close in the interim and give Marmol a day off if the Cubs find themselves in a save situation over the weekend vs. the Dodgers?

I think that is the smart move.

Marmol needs a mental day off and while the old saying is that closers need to have a quick memory and get over blown saves and get right back on the horse, in this situation, I believe the Cubs and Marmol are best served seeing what Dolis can do, at least temporarily until Marmol finds the form that once made him one of the nastiest closers in the National League.

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Patrick is a diehard sports fan and former football player from Chicago, the greatest city in the world. The home of deep dish pizza, the greatest skyline in the world, and the best sports fans in America.  Patrick has been a fan of the Cubs, Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks since birth and is an avid college football fan, particularly the SEC.  Patrick is the host of “The Wake Up Call”, a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com every Wednesday morning from 8-10.  View his show’s website here