MESA, Ariz. Carlos Marmol and Dale Sveum were seen laughing together on Sunday at Fitch Park. This was the first workout, the perfect time for optimism.
The first-year manager hasnt had to sit through a ninth inning where Marmol loads the bases, or walk into the Wrigley Field interview roomdungeon after his closer blows the save.
Lets see how Sveum reacts when Marmol cant handle the heat. But for now the message is stop experimenting and get back to Marmols core strength unleashing the slider, which no one really knows where its going.
We might have just told him to wipe out the cutter he tried throwing last year, Sveum said. He admits it caused him a lot of problems and got him a little out of whack. (Hes) an impressive closer, but hes a slider guy (with) one of the best, (almost) unhittable sliders that weve seen in a long time.
When I was in Milwaukee, (our hitters would) come back (to the dugout) and they were like: What is that pitch? I dont even know what that is. And I remember watching it on video leading into a series and Im like: What is he doing? What is that? Is that just bad sliders? We kind of laughed about that.
Marmol led the majors with 10 blown saves last season. The year before, he converted 38-of-43 chances and struck out 138 hitters in 77-plus innings. New pitching coach Chris Bosio has made a few suggestions to keep his mechanics in line.
He wants to lean back, Sveum said. He wants to crank velocity. He wants to create arm strength through his shoulders and then he just gets out of whack. Its more just keeping the shoulders in line with the strike zone and I think that will help him tremendously.
Marmol will have to regain his confidence and the feel for his slider, but the Cubs hope this isnt a big fix, that he can be dominant once again. Stay tuned.