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.
Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun had three more years of arbitration eligibility left, but he and the Angels decided to settle that future business at once on Wednesday, agreeing to a three-year extension worth $26 million, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. The contract also includes a $14 million club option for the 2020 season.
Calhoun, 29, has been a dependable right fielder for the Angels over the last three seasons, batting an aggregate .266/.327/.436 with 61 home runs and 216 RBI in 1,895 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, Calhoun has been the ninth-most valuable right fielder in baseball since the start of the 2014 season with 11.4 Wins Above Replacement. He ranks slightly behind Giancarlo Stanton (11.9) and just ahead of J.D. Martinez (10.9).
The Angels only have a handful of players signed beyond the 2017 season — just Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Andrelton Simmons, and Calhoun. The club has options on Ricky Nolasco and Huston Street, while many others will be eligible for arbitration.
Nothing is happening as the baseball world waits four more hours for the Hall of Fame announcement. Question: why do it at 6pm? For MLB Network ratings? Let’s be real, there are “Golden Girls” reruns on third-tier basic cable that are gonna draw a bigger audience. Why not announce it now so people can get on with their lives? Oh well.
As we wait, let’s take a look in at Twitter, where Jim Bowden of ESPN passes along the rumor that the Washington Nationals are still interested in signing Matt Wieters and Greg Holland:
Great to know that the Nats’ baseball operations budget is dictated by its capital expenditures. Maybe they shoulda been smart like the Braves and suckered — er, I mean negotiated the local government to pay more for it? GO BRAVES!
Anyway, Bryce Harper had a response to that:
I take that to mean that he’d take the money used to construct the team store and give to Wieters and Holland. I haven’t seen the budget breakdown for the new spring training facility, but that would probably mean a major pay cut for Wieters and Holland. And where would we buy our “Make Baseball Great Again” caps? Think ahead, Bryce. Play the long game here.