In today’s series finale against the Mets, Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol allowed four runs and recorded just one out in the ninth inning as the Mets stormed from a 3-0 deficit to walk off as 4-3 winners. Cubs starter Matt Garza pitched brilliantly over seven innings and James Russell tossed a perfect eighth to bring the 3-0 lead to Marmol in the ninth. Closer Kevin Gregg was unavailable as a result of pitching four games in a row.
Marmol started off on the wrong foot, surrendering a lead-off home run to Marlon Byrd. He then walked Lucas Duda and surrendered a single to John Buck. Omar Quintanilla successfully laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving both runners into scoring position for the recently-recalled Kirk Nieuwenhuis. After getting ahead 1-0, Nieuwenhuis turned on a 94 MPH fastball for a walk-off three-run home run.
Marmol entered the game with a 4.78 ERA, but it ballooned to 6.08 after today’s outing. As the 30-year-old is a free agent after the season and the Cubs are 15 games out of first place, they are ostensibly continuing to use him in high-leverage situations to build up his trade value. Marmol’s strikeout rate, however, has dropped to its lowest point since his rookie season in 2006 and his tightrope act doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon.
Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.
The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.
Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.
The Dodgers staved off a four-game series sweep at the hands of the Phillies, winning 5-4 on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. The win reduced their magic number in the NL West to one, meaning that a win against the Giants at home or a Diamondbacks loss to the Marlins on Friday will result in clinching the division.
Of course, the Dodgers winning and the Diamondbacks losing hasn’t exactly been a sure thing lately. The D-Backs rattled off a 13-game winning streak from August 24 through September 6. The Dodgers lost 11 games in a row from September 2-11 and were on a four-game slide before Thursday’s win.
The Dodgers will send Rich Hill to the mound to start opposite Jeff Samardzija. The Diamondbacks have Zack Greinke opposing Adam Conley.