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How soon before Cubs fans’ patience runs out?

Cub manager Dale Sveum argues safe call with first base umpire John Tumpane when Astro baserunner Tyler Greene was ruled

Cub manager Dale Sveum argues a safe call with first base umpire John Tumpane when Astro baserunner Tyler Greene was ruled safe in a rundown in the second inning of the Chicago Cubs-Houston Astros game Tuesday October 2, 2012 in the final night game of the season at Wrigley Field. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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As the Cubs prepared for Monday’s home opener with strong winds blowing out and expectations strongly reined in, manager Dale Sveum knows patience could start running out with fans quickly.

“You can only have so much patience,” he said. “Obviously, they were great with us through hard times last year and understanding the processes with what’s going on in the organization.

“But there’s only so much you can take, especially when you have some of the best fans in the country, and passionate, and a following. It’s not just Chicago. We have a following throughout the whole country.”

Whether in response to that idea, Sveum wasted no time yanking closer Carlos Marmol from the ninth inning to preserve a win in the season opener, and then Sunday yanked him from the job altogether.

Sveum said Monday morning that Marmol will be used in middle innings in games the Cubs trail, “to build some confidence back up.”

It’s unclear what can be done to ramp up a lineup that averaged 2.2 runs a game on the opening road trip, but the outbound wind shouldn’t hurt.

Being at home should help, too, said Sveum, considering the Cubs finished a relatively blistering 38-43 during their 101-loss season.

How long fans will hang in there, while the Cubs search for their way, though, is anybody’s guess.

“The patience has to give way sometime,” he said. “That’s just the nature of the beast.”

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