Carlos Marmol began the season as the Cubs’ closer, but manager Dale Sveum didn’t hesitate to yank the right-hander when things started to unravel.
Handed a 3-0 lead in the ninth inning, Marmol struck out Garrett Jones and then hit Andrew McCutchen with a pitch. McCutchen stole second base, Pedro Alvarez singled him home, and then Marmol walked Gaby Sanchez as the tying run.
And that was it. Sveum pulled Marmol with one out, two runners on, and the Cubs up 3-1. Left-hander James Russell came in, followed by right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa, and together they wriggled out of the jam to close out the win.
At this point it’s pretty safe to assume that the Cubs would only stick with Marmol in an effort to let him rack up saves before a trade, but it’s only a matter of time before Fujikawa is the closer.
Giants starter Jeff Samardzija will undergo an MRI on his ailing right shoulder, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. The right-hander struggled in a minor league game on Wednesday, surrendering a pair of home runs and hitting a batter. Overall this spring, Samardzija has given up 15 runs (13 earned) on 17 hits (six homers) and seven walks with seven strikeouts in 11 innings.
This may mean Samardzija won’t be ready for the start of the regular season. Derek Holland would likely replace Samardzija in the rotation. Holland had been competing for the No. 5 spot in the Giants’ rotation.
Samardzija led the National League in losses last season with 15, also posting a 4.42 ERA with a 205/32 K/BB ratio in a league-high 207 2/3 innings. Since becoming a starter, Samardzija has been able to avoid injury, making 32 or 33 starts in each of the last five seasons.