Mike Quade threw Carlos Marmol right back into the fire following his disastrous blown save yesterday, but the Cubs’ closer looked extremely shaky again today and was yanked with two outs in the ninth inning against the Marlins.
Marmol came on to close out a 2-0 lead, but walked leadoff man Omar Infante on four pitches, got Gaby Sanchez to pop out, and then gave up a long single to Hanley Ramirez. Luckily for Marmol the only thing worse than his control right now might be Ramirez’s brain, as he was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double representing the tying run.
So instead of runners on the corners with one out Logan Morrison came to the plate with a runner on third base and two outs, and extended the inning with a sharp single to right field to make it 2-1. Quade mercifully took out Marmol and brought in left-hander Sean Marshall to face right-handed slugger Mike Stanton–which tells you he simply wanted Marmol out of the game at all costs–and he wriggled out of the jam and notched the save with a strikeout.
Ultimately the Cubs got the win and Marmol narrowly avoided his MLB-leading eighth blown save thanks to Marshall’s nifty escape, but he clearly doesn’t look right. When he’s on Marmol has perhaps the most overpowering, unhittable stuff in baseball, yet right now he either can’t find the strike zone or is grooving pitches just to avoid walking the ballpark.
Through his first 37 appearances Marmol struck out 52 of the 168 batters he faced, which is a remarkable 31 percent. Counting today, he’s now faced 20 consecutive hitters without a strikeout, walking seven batters during that span.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.
The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.
Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.
We wait see.
The Dodgers beat the Twins last night thanks to a Cody Bellinger three-run homer. But Bellinger was not the only Dodgers rookie who had a notable game. A far more unconventional one is worth mentioning as well.
That rookie is reliever Edward Paredes, who made his big league debut last night. What makes him unconventional: he’s 30. Turns 31 in September, actually. Paredes pitched professionally for 12 years before making it to The Show. Most of that time was in the affiliated minors in the Mariners, Indians, Angels and Dodgers organizations. He spent time in the independent Atlantic League in 2013-15 as well.
Paredes did not do anything heroic last night. It was more of a right place/right time kind of appearance, retiring the side in order with a fly out, line out and a ground out and remaining the pitcher of record while Bellinger hit that three-run homer. That’s enough for a W, though. A W that Paredes waited a lot longer for than most pitchers who notch one in the bigs.