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.

Cardinals extend José Martínez through 2020

Jose Martinez
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First baseman/outfielder José Martínez agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Cardinals on Saturday, per a team announcement. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Martínez will receive $3.25 million in the deal plus incentives if he earns a more stable place within the starting lineup.

Martínez, 30, played 887 games in the minors before making his major-league debut with the Cardinals at the tail end of the 2016 season. The veteran first baseman has been nothing but productive in the three years since his debut, however, and turned in a career-best performance in 2018 after slashing .305/.364/.457 with 17 home runs, an .821 OPS, and 2.3 fWAR through 590 plate appearances. While he brings some positional flexibility to the table, he’ll be forced to compete against Dexter Fowler and Tyler O'Neill for a full-time gig in right field this year, as Paul Goldschmidt currently has a lock on first base.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the extension wasn’t solely precipitated by Martínez’s productivity in the majors, but by a competing offer from an unnamed Japanese team over the offseason. Goold adds that Martínez would have earned “significantly more than he would in the majors” had the club sold his rights. In the end, they ultimately elected to ink him to a more lucrative deal themselves. He’ll be eligible for arbitration in 2020.