Dale Sveum won’t name Cubs’ closer anytime soon
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org April 24, 2013 10:50PM
CUBS AT BREWERS
The facts: 7:10 p.m., Ch. 26, 720-AM.
The pitchers:Jeff Samardzija (1-2, 2.75 ERA) vs. Marco Estrada (1-0, 4.50).
THE REST OF THE SERIES
Saturday: 6:10 p.m., CSN, 720-AM. Edwin Jackson (0-2, 6.06) vs. Hiram Burgos (major-league debut).
Sunday: 1:10 p.m., CSN, 720-AM. Scott Feldman (0-2, 6.00 ) vs. Wily Peralta (0-1, 6.19).
Updated: April 24, 2013 11:38PM
CINCINNATI — Maybe the Cubs will sign rehabbing Brian Wilson or trade for Matt Capps or try to lure Jason Isringhausen out of retirement.
Until then, everybody in the Cubs’ bullpen is the closer. Which means nobody is.
Manager Dale Sveum said it again Wednesday before the Cubs’ series finale against the Cincinnati Reds.
“I think [having one closer] helps everything in the long run,” Sveum said. “But it also helps putting people in the matchups and situations where they can succeed in a better fashion. Those last three outs, it’s a whole ’nother animal.”
A predatory beast for the boys in his pen.
After having three closers try and fail in the first two weeks of the season (with Kyuji Fujikawa adding elbow injury to insult), Sveum is in no rush to declare a closer, especially not with his bullpen plodding along with the worst save percentage in the league (4-for-10) and five relievers already charged with at least one blown save.
When told that recently acquired Kevin Gregg wants the job, Sveum said, “I don’t know about that. A lot of people want things.”
Those people include Carlos Marmol, who has pitched a lot better since his first-week demotion.
“Everybody knows I want my job back. That’s not any surprise,” said Marmol, who figures a return to the role must be a matter of time. “Gotta be. …
“I can’t make that decision. I’m feeling great. I’m still working and try to pitch good every time out. I know what I’ve got. I believe in myself. We’ll see.”
Sveum said Marmol’s appearance in the ninth inning Tuesday with a 2-1 lead was all about his dominance over Joey Votto. The Reds first baseman was 1-for-15 with nine strikeouts in his career against Marmol, but Votto greeted him with a ground-ball single past Darwin Barney to tie the score.
Gregg was in the game in the 10th after the Cubs retook the lead, but his appearance was about the matchups at the bottom of the Reds’ order and their bench players.
And maybe just a little about Gregg’s closer experience.
“You look at the situation at hand, and it is what it is,” said Gregg, talking about his desire to return to the role he had with the Cubs in 2009. (His demotion that summer opened the door for Marmol’s ascent and eventual $20 million contract.)
“Ask Dale what he’s going to do. … For me, [the final-inning pressure] is an awesome thing. I enjoy that. That’s a lot of weight on your shoulders when you’re out there in that situation. I love it. I love that pressure. I love what comes with it, being able to carry home a victory for the team.”
What’s Sveum going to do? Nothing.
He has made that clear. There’s no closer controversy here.