Stripped of closing duties last week following back-to-back ugly appearances, Carlos Marmol returned to the mound last night and successfully pitched the ninth inning of a 6-1 victory for the Cubs.
However, it wasn’t exactly a flawless appearance, as Marmol walked two of the five batters he faced and threw just 15 of 29 pitches for strikes.
The good news is that he got swinging strikeouts on both Ryan Howard and John Mayberry Jr. after the right-hander with the best single-season strikeout rate in MLB history whiffed zero batters in his previous six games.
After the game Marmol talked about studying video of his mechanics with pitching coach Mark Riggins, saying: “I feel great right now.”
His return to the closer role will have to wait, however, as manager Mike Quade indicated that it’ll take more than one scoreless but walk-filled outing to reclaim ninth-inning duties from Sean Marshall and Kerry Wood.
Padres’ outfielder Alex Dickerson won’t see PETCO Park anytime soon — at least, not as its starting left fielder. The 27-year-old was diagnosed with a bulging disc in his lower back prior to the start of the 2017 season, and hasn’t made any kind of substantial progress in the months since. According to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune, he suffered a setback in his recovery process last week and is set to undergo a season-ending discectomy next Wednesday.
Over 285 plate appearances, Dickerson batted .257/.333/.455 with 10 home runs and a .788 OPS for the Padres in 2016. He missed several days with a right hip contusion last July, but hasn’t experienced any substantial health problems since undergoing surgery in 2014 to repair a torn ligament in his left ankle.
The expected recovery period for lower back surgery is 3-4 months, according to Lin, which puts Dickerson’s estimated return just a few days before the end of the regular season. The Padres aren’t scraping the bottom of the NL West, but their 29-44 record doesn’t bode well for a postseason run this year. Assuming Dickerson rehabs his back in a timely manner, he should be in fine form to enter the competition for left field next spring.
Hanley Ramirez played a pivotal role during the Red Sox’ 9-4 win over the Angels on Friday night, crushing a two-run homer off of Alex Meyer to bring the Sox up to a four-run lead in the fourth inning.
Well, crushed might be the wrong word. The ball cleared the right field fence with a mere 350 feet, landing just beyond Pesky’s Pole to bring Ramirez’s career home run total to an even 250.
According to the ESPN Home Run Tracker, Ramirez’s milestone blast wasn’t the shortest home run of the year — not by a long shot. That distinction currently belongs to Rays’ outfielder Corey Dickerson, who skimmed the left field fence at Rogers Centre with a 326-foot homer back in April.