Fixing Carlos Marmol ‘simple,’ but Cubs aren’t rushing
By Toni Ginnetti email@example.com July 16, 2011 8:16PM
Updated: July 18, 2011 12:04AM
The timetable for Carlos Marmol resuming his closer role is open-ended, with Cubs manager Mike Quade saying he’ll rely on his pitching coaches’ evaluations as Marmol works to correct flaws.
‘‘To me, it’s between Marmol and the pitching people,’’ Quade said. ‘‘It will depend on what they see as far as quality of pitches. When they feel it’s time, we’ll look for situations to play him in and see where we’re at.
‘‘Physically, he’s fantastic. But sometimes you can lose velocity even by dropping your arm [angle]. All the little stuff, they’ll tweak.’’
Marmol’s ninth-inning struggles Thursday night and Friday against the Florida Marlins were the crescendo of problems that had been developing for several weeks. He has allowed eight runs in his last four outings after holding opponents scoreless in his previous 13 appearances (13 2/3 innings). He hasn’t struck out a batter since July 3 against the White Sox, a span of six games.
‘‘His breaking ball is the strikeout pitch, and it doesn’t have the depth it did earlier in the year,’’ pitching coach Mark Riggins said. ‘‘That should be simple to fix. It’s very simple, and he’s positive, and he’s going to be the same old Carlos here real soon.’’
Riggins said he has been watching film of Marmol for a month.
‘‘We’ve been addressing things for quite a while,’’ he said, ‘‘and now we’re just hitting it a little harder. Every pitcher has a few things that are different. It’s whether it affects them or not.’’
But Riggins doesn’t believe Marmol has been affected mentally.
‘‘I don’t think so,’’ he said. ‘‘He has confidence in his ability. He’s very strong-minded. If you’re a closer, you’re strong-minded. He wants to get back out there as soon as possible, and that’s what we want, too.’’
Marmol had a similar dismal stretch in 2008, when he was filling in as closer while Kerry Wood was out with a blister. When Wood was unable to attend the All-Star Game, Marmol was named his replacement. In his last appearance of the first half, he gave up five ninth-inning runs (one earned) to the San Francisco Giants. But he pitched a scoreless inning in the All-Star Game, striking out two, then returned to form.
‘‘It was different then because it was his command,’’ Quade said. ‘‘His command is OK [now], but it’s his stuff. He’s gotten some saves battling through some outings, but he hasn’t dominated the way he has [before]. When you see all the success he’s had — he’s one of the best strikeout pitchers in years — so it’s an alarm that goes off. He’s just got to get that back.’’