The Cubs just named Kyuji Fujikawa as their closer last Sunday, but they’ll now have to go back to the drawing board for the ninth inning.
According to Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago, Fujikawa has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a muscle sprain in his right forearm. Rafael Dolis has been called up to take his place in the Cubs’ bullpen.
It’s not clear how long Fujikawa has been pitching through the injury, but it provides some context for his early hiccups. The 32-year-old right-hander allowed three runs on three hits in a blown save against the Giants yesterday and also gave up three runs in an appearance against the Braves last Saturday.
Rogers notes that the Cubs will use a closer-by-committee approach in Fujikawa’s absence, but Carlos Marmol is not expected to be a part of it. This means that right-hander Shawn Camp and left-hander James Russell will likely get most of the save chances.
Rafael Dolis’ reign as Cubs closer was short and ugly, and today the 24-year-old rookie was demoted back to the minors after being stripped of ninth-inning duties.
Dolis’ departure coincides with Carlos Marmol’s sooner-than-expected return from a hamstring injury, as the Cubs deemed him ready to come off the DL after he tossed back-to-back scoreless innings on a rehab assignment at Triple-A.
In a dozen appearances since taking over for Marmol at the beginning of this month Dolis blew two of his five save chances while posting a 7.71 ERA in 11.2 innings, walking nine batters.
Chicago has so few save opportunities to go around that officially naming a closer isn’t exactly a top priority for manager Dale Sveum, but he indicated that James Russell will get first crack at the gig with Shawn Camp looming as another option. Of course, that was before Marmol returned from the DL and while he’ll start off in a middle relief role it’s not hard to see the Cubs turning back to him as closer.
Carlos Marmol’s miserable start to the season just took another unfortunate turn.
The Cubs announced this morning that Marmol was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring. The erratic right-hander was pulled from last night’s game against the Brewers due to the injury and traveled back to Chicago to undergo an MRI. The full extent of the injury isn’t yet known.
Marmol, who was recently pulled from the closer role, has a 6.35 ERA and 12/16 K/BB ratio across 11 1/3 innings this season. Rafael Dolis and James Russell should continue to handle save chances in the interim, though the former seems to have the edge with manager Dale Sveum right now.
The Cubs have recalled right-hander Casey Coleman from Triple-A Iowa in a corresponding roster move. He had a 6.40 ERA and 75/46 K/BB ratio in 84 1/3 innings at the major league level last year.
Darn. Mere hours after I started a push to get closer implosions called “Marmols,” the new stat’s namesake loses his job. David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com reports:
I guess they go with, who, Rafael Dolis? That’s kind of scary given his low strikeout rate, but I’m not sure that they have any better options.
UPDATE: The bullpen choke is complete. Rafael Dolis stayed on to pitch the 10th and the Reds won it on a sacrifice fly. After a Dolis throwing error, of course. Bad day for the Cubbies.
3:29 PM: As this post goes up the Cubs-Reds game is still going on. But it shouldn’t be. And for that, we have Carlos Marmol to thank. Or blame, if you’re so inclined.
Ryan Dempster shut out the Reds for eight innings and Carlos Marmol took the hill in the ninth with a 3-0 lead. Then this happened:
- Fielder’s choice/error, a runner scores
- Single to load the bases
- Walk, a runner scores
And with that it was 3-2 Cubs. Rafael Dolis then came in to relieve Marmol, induced a run-scoring double play and then struck out the next batter he faced. It’s 3-3 in extra innings as this one goes to press.
Marmol is a hot mess right now. As Dave Cameron just pointed out on Twitter, he has walked over 25% of the batters he has faced this year. That’s just not acceptable. Something’s gotta change.