Carlos Marmol’s Saturday outing is bad to the zone
BY TONI GINNETTI email@example.com May 4, 2013 9:31PM
How they scored
Reds first Choo homered to left on a 0-0 count. One run. Reds 1, Cubs 0.
Cubs first Sappelt grounded out. Ransom struck out. Rizzo was hit by a pitch. A.Soriano homered to left on a 3-1 count, Rizzo scored. Two runs. Cubs 2, Reds 1.
Reds third Choo walked. On Samardzija’s error on a pickoff attempt, Choo to second. Cozart singled, Choo scored. One run. Reds 2, Cubs 2.
Cubs third Sappelt walked. Ransom hit into a double play, Sappelt out. Rizzo doubled. A.Soriano homered to left on a 1-0 count, Rizzo scored. Two runs. Cubs 4, Reds 2.
Reds eighth Marmol pitching. Borbon in as right fielder. Cozart walked. Votto walked, Cozart to second. Phillips was hit by a pitch, Cozart to third, Votto to second. H.Rondon pitching. Bruce singled, Cozart scored, Votto to third, Phillips to second. Frazier hit a sacrifice fly, Votto scored, Phillips to third, Bruce to second. Paul was intentionally walked. Hannahan pinch-hitting for C.Miller. Hannahan walked, Phillips scored, Bruce to third, Paul to second. Mesoraco pinch-hitting for Ondrusek. Mesoraco hit a sacrifice fly, Bruce scored. Four runs. Reds 6, Cubs 4.
Updated: June 6, 2013 7:21AM
Carlos Marmol wore the blame tag again for the 6-4 loss Saturday against the Cincinnati Reds after he couldn’t retire a batter in a four-run eighth inning.
But Alfonso Soriano, whose two two-run homers could’ve meant a victory for starter Jeff Samardzija, had a different perspective.
‘‘It’s happened too many times, not just to [Marmol] but the whole team,’’ Soriano said. ‘‘Sometimes we don’t get the big hit, and sometimes we don’t get the big out. That’s the difference between a first-place team and a last-place team.
‘‘We play so hard, but we have to learn how to win. It’s not only today. We shouldn’t have the [11-19] record we have because we were winning five or six games that we lost.’’
They were ahead 4-2 when Marmol (2-2) entered in the eighth for his record-setting 453rd relief appearance as a Cub, surpassing Lee Smith.
But he couldn’t find the strike zone — again — walking two, then hitting Brandon Phillips, whom manager Dale Sveum hoped he could get to ground into a double play.
All three eventually scored as the Reds batted around against Marmol and Hector Rondon — and only had one hit.
‘‘I don’t know if he threw one strike,’’ Sveum said of Marmol, who has given up 12 walks and hit three batters in 112/3 innings.
Marmol, who has 117 career saves, and Smith are the only closers in franchise history to have consecutive seasons of 30 or more saves.
‘‘One way or another, he’s got to get it fixed,’’ Sveum said.
‘‘I didn’t throw strikes,’’ Marmol said. ‘‘I’m giving people a chance to score. I have to throw strikes and get people out.
‘‘It’s tough. It’s tough for me, for any pitcher in baseball. I’m giving 100 percent. I don’t think bad things [on the mound]. But I have trouble with the first hitters. I’ll try to be better.’’
With $9.8 million left on his contract, the Cubs have no choice but to hope he will.
‘‘We only have seven guys [in the bullpen],’’ Sveum said. ‘‘He’s got to pitch. One way or another, we have to get him fixed because he has to pitch.
‘‘He’s not throwing the ball over the plate. It doesn’t matter what pitch is called. He still has stuff, so I’m not jumping to any conclusions, but it gets tough to have confidence with  walks.’’
But Marmol is only one of many problems, Sveum said.
‘‘Half of our losses have been this kind. Turn the switch around [on mistakes], and we could have eight more wins,’’ Sveum said.
The Cubs have lost nine games in which they held a lead.
‘‘Whether it’s errors or walks, there aren’t a lot of clean games in the first 30,’’ Sveum said.
Samardzija, who has had two no-decisions in his last two starts and is winless since Opening Day, knows his problem: using up too many pitches early.
He threw 111 pitches in only six innings, giving up a homer on his first pitch to Shin-Soo Choo, then making a wild pickoff throw after walking Choo in the third, which led to an unearned run.
‘‘It’s simple — it’s because you’re putting guys on for free,’’ Samardzija said of Marmol’s struggles and his own heavy pitch counts. ‘‘You have to attack the zone. It’s the same for starters as relievers.’’