Carlos Marmol blew another save yesterday, turning a 3-0 ninth-inning lead into a 4-3 loss to wipe away seven shutout innings from Matt Garza.
He was only in the game because Kevin Gregg had pitched four games in a row, but the former closer served up a walk-off three-run homer and afterward teammate Alfonso Soriano sounded pretty sick of watching Marmol:
When we have a 99 [percent] chance to win the game, it’s very tough the last inning. Three outs left and we lost the game. It’s unacceptable … It’s hard to swallow. We thought we swept those guys and had some momentum going to St. Louis. It’s not a good feeling.
And about Marmol specifically, Soriano told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune:
I don’t know. It depends on him. He used to be good. I think he’s good, but he’s lost a little bit of his confidence, and this game is all about confidence. I hope he gets it back and becomes the Marmol I know.
Sullivan notes that Soriano “was as upset as he has been in his seven years in Chicago” and doesn’t normally go public with those type of quotes, but “he used to be good” is certainly an apt description of Marmol at this point. Of course, if Marmol was feeling chippy he could say the same thing about Soriano.
“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”
Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”
That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.
Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.
When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.
The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.
Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.
It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.
Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.