Kerry Wood, Carlos Marmol ugly it up again

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In the Cubs’ first game Thursday, Kerry Wood took a blown save in the eighth and Carlos Marmol got the loss in the ninth. In the second game Saturday, Wood took the loss in the eighth and Marmol got tagged with a blown save in the same inning.

Wood got the call to start the eighth with the Cubs up 4-2 and allowed a solo homer and two singles after starting the inning with two quick outs. That resulted in Marmol’s appearance with the tying run on second. Marmol walked the first batter he faced, allowed back-to-back hits and then walked one more guy before getting pulled. Shawn Camp allowed an infield single afterwards, giving the Nationals a five-run eighth in what turned out to be a 7-4 victory.

Wood and Marmol are now both sporting identical 27.00 ERAs and 6.00 WHIPs after two appearances. Marmol has given up four hits in his inning of work. In Sept./Oct. 2010, he pitched 15 2/3 innings and allowed just two hits.

The Cubs lack any other reliable relievers, so they’ll just have to hope Wood and Marmol work through their troubles. Pulling Marmol for the closer’s role temporarily is an option, but since Wood is in no position to claim the job, they’d probably have to mix-and-match James Russell and Rafael Dolis in the ninth if they go that route.

The Cubs had to figure going into the season that the bullpen was going to be a problem. Still, they were likely more confident about the eighth inning and Wood than they were about any other portion of it. Now they’ve already blown two leads in that inning, erasing quality performances from Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza in the process.

Brewers claim Stephen Vogt off waivers from the Athletics

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported on Sunday that the Brewers claimed catcher Stephen Vogt off waivers from the Athletics. Vogt was designated for assignment by the Athletics on Thursday.

Vogt, 32, was an All-Star in each of the last two seasons, but struggled this year. He hit .217/.287/.357 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 174 plate appearances.

With the Brewers, Vogt will likely split time behind the plate with Manny Pina. Meanwhlie, the Athletics’ catching situation will be handled by Josh Phegley and Bruce Maxwell.

Dallas Keuchel is unlikely to return before the All-Star break

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Astros’ left-hander Dallas Keuchel might not return to the rotation before the All-Star break, Houston manager A.J. Hinch told reporters prior to Sunday’s game. The club placed their star southpaw on the 10-day disabled list on June 8, retroactive to June 5, after a nerve issue was revealed in his neck.

Keuchel has taken a conservative approach to his recovery over the last several weeks, and while he appears to have made some progress, still has yet to throw off the mound. The injury interrupted the start of an outstanding run with the Astros, during which the 29-year-old lefty furnished a 9-0 record with a 1.67 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 through his first 75 2/3 innings of 2017.

According to Hinch, it’s certainly possible that Keuchel could return to the team sometime within the next two weeks, but it’s clear that the team would prefer to play it extra safe with their ace. Even assuming that he feels ready to reclaim his spot on the Astros’ pitching staff, he still needs to complete a few key activities before competing in another game — like throwing off a mound, for example. In the meantime, Lance McCullers Jr. will continue to head Houston’s rotation as they try to build on their 12.5-game lead in the AL West.

 

Hinch’s full comments are below: