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.
Nationals ace Max Scherzer struck out his 300th batter of the season on Tuesday night against the Marlins. Austin Dean was the victim, swinging and missing at a 3-2 curve for the second out in the seventh inning.
Scherzer’s 2018 is the seventh 300-strikeout season since 2000. The others: Chris Sale (308; 2017 Red Sox), Clayton Kershaw (301; 2015 Dodgers), Randy Johnson (334; 2002 Diamondbacks), Curt Schilling (316; 2002 Diamondbacks), Randy Johnson (372; 2001 Diamondbacks), Randy Johnson (347; 2000 Diamondbacks). It’s the 67th 300-strikeout season dating back to 1883.
At the conclusion of the seventh, Scherzer had held the Marlins to a run on four hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts. He entered the start 17-7 with a 2.57 ERA across 213 2/3 innings. Jacob deGrom will almost certainly win the NL Cy Young Award, but Scherzer’s 2018 has been outstanding.