In today’s series finale against the Mets, Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol allowed four runs and recorded just one out in the ninth inning as the Mets stormed from a 3-0 deficit to walk off as 4-3 winners. Cubs starter Matt Garza pitched brilliantly over seven innings and James Russell tossed a perfect eighth to bring the 3-0 lead to Marmol in the ninth. Closer Kevin Gregg was unavailable as a result of pitching four games in a row.
Marmol started off on the wrong foot, surrendering a lead-off home run to Marlon Byrd. He then walked Lucas Duda and surrendered a single to John Buck. Omar Quintanilla successfully laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving both runners into scoring position for the recently-recalled Kirk Nieuwenhuis. After getting ahead 1-0, Nieuwenhuis turned on a 94 MPH fastball for a walk-off three-run home run.
Marmol entered the game with a 4.78 ERA, but it ballooned to 6.08 after today’s outing. As the 30-year-old is a free agent after the season and the Cubs are 15 games out of first place, they are ostensibly continuing to use him in high-leverage situations to build up his trade value. Marmol’s strikeout rate, however, has dropped to its lowest point since his rookie season in 2006 and his tightrope act doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon.