Too many times, the Cubs had to sit through the white-knuckle ride that was a Carlos Marmol ninth inning. But on Friday, they almost benefitted from it.
Marmol was back on the mound at Wrigley Field, about a month after being traded to the Dodgers, when he was called on to pitch the bottom of the ninth inning in the second game of this weekend’s four-game set. The Dodgers held a 6-2 lead, but the prospect of Marmol pulling one of his infamous performances seemed to jolt fans awake who had fallen silent during a scoreless string of innings.
The former Cub was expectedly greeted with boos by the fans at the “Friendly” Confines, but why should that change with his uniform?
Much to their pleasure, he looked shaky out of the gate. The boos turned to cheers when Julio Borbon led off the inning with a double down the right-field line. Perhaps the Cubs would finally be on the winning end of a Marmol implosion.
But Borbon made sure that wouldn’t happen.
When an 0-2 pitch to David DeJesus dropped between the legs of catcher A.J. Ellis, Borbon, who was designated for assignment after the game, took off for third base with no outs and his team down four runs. The ball didn’t get far from Ellis, who threw down to third and easily beat Borbon.
The base running blunder was compounded when DeJesus walked shortly thereafter. Junior Lake then popped out before Anthony Rizzo grounded out to end the game.
Again, a shaky Marmol got away with the lead intact. But, according to his former manager, the Cubs let him off the hook.
“To say the least, we let him off the hook,” Dale Sveum said. “First and second with nobody out changes that ballgame around a lot.
[MORE: Sveum pleased with Lake's start]
“When you’re down by four runs and there’s no outs, you can stand on second base because we’ve got to get a bunch of hits. It’s not the brightest thing I’ve ever seen.”
Marmol has been with the Dodgers very briefly. He made just two appearances prior to Friday, and in those two appearances he allowed four runs on six hits, two walks and a wild pitch. So to say that the Cubs might have been able to do some damage against their former teammate wouldn’t be an exaggeration.
Thursday, the former Cub said he wasn’t expecting to be greeted warmly by the fans, and it turns out he was right. But he added he has no hard feelings toward the Cubs, and his teammates feel the same about him, even though it was strange to see him in a different uniform.
“It’s definitely different,” Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney said Friday. “I wish him the best -- not for these next two days but after that. Hopefully he has a good future moving forward.”