Loud 9: Carlos Marmol gives up blasts, blows lead
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org June 16, 2013 9:49PM
Updated: June 16, 2013 11:07PM
NEW YORK — Carlos Marmol might be effective in the ninth inning again, for another team in another city.
But his days as even an occasional closer for the Cubs were last seen disappearing into the horizon with the two long home runs he gave up Sunday in one of the fastest-blown three-run leads on record.
“We all know that he’s got a lot of saves in his career, but for some reason now it’s getting [away from him],” said manager Dale Sveum, who used Marmol with a 3-0 lead in the ninth against the New York Mets because closer Kevin Gregg had pitched four consecutive days. “He doesn’t have quite the slider he used to, so it’s not that easy.
“But something’s going on. In the other innings, it’s not going on. It’s in that last inning.”
That’s likely to make Shawn Camp, James Russell or almost anyone else the closer the next time Gregg is unavailable.
After allowing a solo homer to ex-Cub Marlon Byrd and a three-run, game-winning shot to the .097-hitting Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Marmol’s ERA in the ninth this year is 9.35.
It’s 6.75 in the eighth. He hasn’t allowed a run in six appearances earlier in the game.
In his first save chance since April, he suffered his third blown save in five chances.
Marmol said it’s no different for him mentally in the ninth than other innings — or than it used to be.
“I’ve closed games before,” said Marmol, who was visibly upset. “I gave up the hits. What can I say. It’s tough.”
A former All-Star whose struggles have made him impossible to trade for more than a year, Marmol will be a free agent after the season.
Already roasted regularly in Chicago by media and fans, is it even feasible he could become a closer again somewhere else?
“I don’t know,” Alfonso Soriano said. “He used to be good — I think he’s good. But he’s lost a little bit of his confidence, and this game is a lot about confidence. You can have the talent, you can have the pitching, you can have the arm, you can have the swing. But if you’re not confident, you’re not going to win. I hope he can get it back and be the Marmol I know.”
One start after suggesting he had trouble getting comfortable with Welington Castillo behind the plate, Matt Garza said there was a difference Sunday with his former Tampa Bay Rays teammate, Dioner Navarro, catching him. He said he likes the thought of Navarro catching all his starts.
“I don’t make the lineup, but I hope so,” said Garza, who allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings. “I like him back there, and I felt comfortable.”
Sveum said last week he doesn’t believe that’s necessary. He said Garza’s success Sunday had less to do with the catcher and more to do with his location and execution.