Carlos Marmol is as Carlos Marmol does


Close up of Carlos Marmol's face as he walks off the field.
An exasperated Carlos Marmol is a regular feature at the end of Cubs games. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Chicago Cubs once again got burned by Carlos Marmol on Sunday. He came into the game against the New York Mets with a three-run lead, compliments of a gutty performance by Matt Garza. The Cubs had won three in a row, and were poised to sweep the Mets to build some momentum heading into a four-game series in St. Louis this week. When you’re set to play the team with the best record in baseball, and at their home stadium, you need every advantage you can get.

But Cubs fans know all about Carlos Marmol by now. In fact, last May I invented a statistic and named it in his honor. As I wrote in this space:

A Marmol is awarded to a pitcher who is in line for a victory, but then has it taken away when a closer fails to hold the lead. Marmol has accounted for 12 such games, going back to (2011), when the statistic was first measured.

Last year’s article introducing the “Marmol” to the world came as the result of a similar situation to Sunday’s game. Last year, Ryan Dempster was in line for the win, but Marmol came in with a three-run lead in the ninth and could not finish the game. At the time, it was the third Marmol of Dempster’s career, which tied him with Matt Garza as the all-time leader. But with yesterday’s implosion, Garza has now regained his all-time lead by registering his fourth Marmol.

On the off chance Cubs manager Dale Sveum will ever read this, here’s a free bit of baseball wisdom from this humble Cubs fan and blogger: CARLOS MARMOL CANNOT BE TRUSTED TO FINISH A GAME. EVER.

I realize Kevin Gregg had pitched the last four days in a row, and he may have been feeling gassed. That’s the only reason Marmol got the call in the ninth inning. But let’s look at the facts so far this year: Gregg is nine-for-nine in save opportunities. In other words, he hasn’t failed yet.

My best guess is that Gregg won’t be on the Cubs’ roster when August 1 arrives. He’ll be traded for an assortment of prospects, since a reliable bullpen arm is like gold for a team hoping to make the playoffs. The Cubs need to use him now, if only to build up his trade value as much as possible.

Sveum must have thought he was doing Gregg a favor by turning to Marmol instead. In all honesty, Gregg isn’t likely to have too many chances to pitch in St. Louis next week, so why not trot him out one more time on Sunday? After all, it couldn’t have turned out any worse than using Carlos Marmol did.


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