MIAMI – This was classic Carlos Marmol, another ninth-inning escape that ended with Miami Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton whiffing on one of those unpredictable sliders.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum could sit back in his office and smile after a 4-3 victory on Thursday night at Marlins Park. Sveum watched Marmol put two runners on before running his streak to eight straight scoreless outings since losing the closer’s job.
“I’ll take the ball whenever he gives me the ball,” Marmol said. “It’s not really a big deal for me, but if he’s going to give me the opportunity, I’m going to take it.”
Sveum seems to enjoy not giving into the media’s questions and officially making Marmol “The Man” again. The manager’s going with percentages and matchups and playing up the closer-by-committee idea.
At what point can you name Marmol as your closer, or are you just not going to say it?
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“Nope,” Sveum said. “He pitches great when he doesn’t know when he’s a closer.”
When a reporter mentioned to Sveum it would save a lot of “aggravation” if he just named Marmol the closer, the manager replied: “Your aggravation? Jeez, you just got to write the story.”
The Cubs have tried to ease Marmol back into higher-leverage situations and Kyuji Fujikawa created an opening when he went on the disabled list. A steady, stable bullpen could have made a big difference for a 7-14 team. Sveum’s in no rush after watching five different relievers blow six saves already this season.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” Marmol said with a smile. “I don’t know what game he’s going to play.”
Edwin Jackson is still looking for his first win in a Cubs uniform, but the $52 million pitcher managed to last six innings and keep his team in the game. He gave up three runs in the first two innings but kept the 5-17 Marlins in check after that.
“These are the kind of games that we know we’re capable of winning,” Jackson said. “It’s just a matter of going out and having confidence. We have confidence in everyone. We know that everyone can get the job done. We’re trusting people to get jobs done. It’s just a matter of relaxing and going out and having fun.”
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Sveum likes to say the ninth inning is a whole ‘nother animal, and the Cubs celebrated after Marlins closer Steve Cishek served up the game-winning shot to Luis Valbuena. Whether or not it’s Marmol Time, it’s not going to be easy.
“It’s always going to be scary, whoever’s out there,” Sveum said. “They bring their closer in and he gives up a home run. It’s just the way the game is. Until we start scoring six, seven, eight runs, this is going to be what we’re dealing with all the time.”