Carlos Marmol yanked from first save chance

16 Comments

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.

Kendrys Morales pitched a scoreless inning Sunday

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.

Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.

Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.

On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.