Marmol, We have A Problem

I’ve always said I like Marmol more as a setup man than a closer.

His bouts of wildness have grown worse with time. And his ability to both create and escapes his self made jams in the ninth inning have grown wider apart as well.

The walk-off grand slam Tuesday night is just another example of many that tell us Marmol isn’t the solid closer many believe him to be.

Marmol is 28/36 in save opportunities this season. That’s 77%, nearly 10 points below where you want your closer to be.

Yes, he’s been dominate again since returning to the closer’s role, but let’s not forget why he lost his job temporarily in the first place–Inconsistency.

That doesn’t mean I believe Marmol is of no use to the Cubs. Rather, I believe he could again return to being the most dominate setup man in baseball, if the Cubs would only put him there.

Problem is, I’m certain Marmol would never go for it. Not now, and not with a contract that’s paying him to save games.

The main advantage of Marmol setting up is the ability to change pitchers before the game is lost. If that nasty slider of his isn’t working, you simply go to the bullpen.

But when you live and die with a pitcher as maddening as Marmol, spectacular one night and disastrous the next, you come to expect the unknown. And that’s not the making of a top-notch closer.


The Houston Astros are closing in on 100-losses for the first time in its franchise history, which dates back 50 years.

The team posted consecutive losing records in 2009-10 for the first time in two decades.

This season is sure to be a third, and possibly the record setter for the club’s worst season ever.

And by definition, when you struggle against this Cubs team, you know times are tough. Very tough.

At (39-84) the Astros are far from simply being a bad baseball team. More like the worst team in the Major Leagues. Even the lowly Orioles, with the majors second worst record, are eight games better than Houston.

By contrast, Philadelphia, arguably the best team in baseball, has lost a mere 42 games all season. That’s nearly 40 more wins better than the ‘Stros.

But what’s eerily similar to the Cubs is Houston’s belief that they’re headed in the right direction.

A (59-52) record after June 1 last year convinced the club manager Brad Mills was worthy of a contract extension, despite a (17-34) start to the season.

Now like Quade, another manager who sparkled late in 2010, Mills finds himself on the hot seat heading towards the off season, which begs the question: should a manager whose team reaches triple digits in the loss column return, especially for a club that’s never sank to such depths before?

I wouldn’t think so.

On two occasions the Astros have neared 100-losses, both times totaling 97 defeats. And in both situations the manager was replaced following the season. So don’t think the Cubs are the only organization eyeing Ryne Sandberg.


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