Sveum ‘can’t lie,’ Carlos Marmol could lose closer job
By GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org May 3, 2012 3:54PM
CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 3: Carlos Marmol #49 of the Chicago Cubs pitches in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on May 3, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds came from behind to win 4-3. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Updated: May 3, 2012 6:26PM
CINCINNATI — After his latest ninth-inning meltdown, Carlos Marmol might lose his closer job.
“ ‘There’s definitely a thought of it now,’’ Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “I can’t lie to you.’’
Sveum said James Russell — the only left-hander in his bullpen — and rookie Rafael Dolis are the options he would consider, leaving former All-Star closer Kerry Wood out of the discussion in the aftermath of Thursday’s 4-3, 10-inning loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
Wood, who has dealt with a balky shoulder since spring training, returned Thursday from the DL.
Marmol inherited a 3-0 lead from dominant starter Ryan Dempster in the ninth, then walked the first two batters on nine pitches. An error by third baseman Ian Stewart trying to one-hand a hot shot by Brandon Phillips then scored a run. A single by Jay Bruce then loaded the bases, and Marmol followed that by walking Ryan Ludwick to force in another run.
Sveum then replaced Marmol with Dolis, who got a double-play grounder from Devin Mesoraco, tying the score.
Marmol avoided getting tagged with his third blown save in five chances by exiting before the tying run was scored.
Another error in the 10th, when Dolis hit Chris Heisey throwing to first on a sacrifice bunt, contributed to the winning run in the 10th – scored when the next batter, Zack Cozart hit a sacrifice fly to right.
With three walks Thursday, Marmol took over the team lead with 12 – two more starters Paul Maholm or Jeff Samardzija – in just 8 2/3 innings.
“`You’ve got to be able to throw strikes if you’re closing,’’ Sveum said.
On the likelihood he’ll lose his closer job, Marmol said: “He’s the manager. He can do what he wants to do. I’ll take the ball whatever he wants me to do. … I’m frustrated, of course.’’
The Cubs finished the road trip through Philadelphia and Cincinnati with a 3-3 record, missing a chance at their first winning road trip in almost exactly a year.
They return home to open a three-game series against the National League West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers Friday afternoon.