Marmol Gift Wraps Another Loss for the Cubs – Cubs 3, Reds 4

Game Twenty-Five – Cubs 3, Reds 4 – 10 innings
WP – Logan Ondrusek (2-0) LP – Rafael Dolis (1-2, BS 1) Save – None

There are no two ways about it. Regardless of what the expectations may or may not be for the 2012 Chicago Cubs, Thursday’s loss hurt.

On his 35th birthday and on his first start back from the disabled list, Ryan Dempster shutdown the Reds’ lineup for eight innings and the Cubs took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth. Starlin Castro (1-for-5 with a home run), Bryan LaHair (2-for-4 with a home run and a walk) and Geovany Soto (1-for-4 with a home run) each hit solo home runs and gave Ryan Dempster all the support he needed … but that all changed nine pitches into the bottom of the ninth.

Carlos Marmol could not find the strike zone (18 pitches, six for strikes) and issued back-to-back walks to Willie Harris and Joey Votto on nine pitches to start the ninth. After a visit from Chris Bosio, Marmol induced a grounder toward third off the bat of Brandon Phillips. Ian Stewart tried to make a play before he had the ball and misplayed the routine grounder into an error. The Reds put a run on the board and the writing was on the wall. Jay Bruce ripped Marmol’s first pitch into right to load the bases with no outs.

Dale Sveum left Marmol into face Ryan Ludwick. Marmol walked him and forced in the Reds’ second run. Sveum finally pulled Marmol and brought in Rafael Dolis with the bases loaded, no outs and the Cubs up 3-2.

Devin Mesoraco hit a 1-1 pitch toward short. Starlin Castro started the 6-4-3 double play but Phillips scored and tied the game at three. With Bruce at third, Dolis struck out Wilson Valdez swinging to end the inning.

The damage was done, Rafael Dolis was hung with a blown save and the Reds would end up winning the game the next inning. Zack Cozart led off the tenth with a single. Chris Heisey tried to bunt him to second. Dolis fielded the ball, threw it away. Cozart ended up at third and scored the winning run on a sac fly by Scott Rolen.

The game was decided in the bottom of the ninth and Carlos Marmol’s days as the Cubs’ closer appear to be over.

Short of pitching the ninth in his first start back from the DL, Ryan Dempster did everything he could and he more than put his team in position to win the game. Dempster threw 101 pitches, 67 for strikes, over eight shutout innings. The Reds managed only three hits and a walk while Dempster struck out six. Dempster recorded a lot of quick outs and kept the leadoff hitter off base in each of his eight innings.

Dale Sveum’s offense did just enough against Homer Bailey but it should have been more. Solo home runs by Castro, LaHair and Soto accounted for all three runs Thursday afternoon. Bryan LaHair reached base safely for the 21st game in a row and tied Derrek Lee (2009) for the franchise all-time mark for first basemen.

Geovany Soto hit his second homer of the season and is starting to show signs of life at the plate. While Soto’s longball was good to see, Soto hit into a double play that ended the second and struck out looking with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth. Soto left four runners on base Thursday.

For the day the Cubs outhit the Reds 10-5 and were 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position and left eight on base in a one-run loss.

While the offense could have put the game away, Thursday’s loss should be hung on Carlos Marmolgotta throw strikes and make ’em earn it. Carlos Marmol did not again.

With Thursday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 9-16 on the season …

David DeJesus started the game by hitting a soft liner to Joey Votto (3-2 pitch). Starlin Castro stepped in with two outs after Barney grounded out to second. Starlin Castro gave the Cubs an early lead with his first homer of the season. Castro launched a 0-2 pitch over the wall in center. Bryan LaHair followed with a single to left center (2-2 pitch) but Soriano popped out to right to end the inning … but thanks to Castro, Ryan Dempster had a 1-0 lead before he took the mound.

Ryan Dempster made quick work or Chris Heisey and Willie Harris to start his outing. Joey Votto ripped Dempster’s first pitch into center. Phillips grounded out to second (2-2 pitch) for the third out.

Ian Stewart led off the second with a single to center but Bailey ended up facing the minimum after Johnson popped out to Votto near the plate and Soto grounded into a 5-4-3 inning ending double play.

Dempster sat down the Reds in order in the second.

After Dempster struck out looking to start the third, DeJesus singled to center with one down … but Barney flied out to center and Castro fouled out to Votto to end the Cubs’ third.

Dempster kept rolling and retired the Reds 1-2-3 in the third.

Bryan LaHair led off the fourth with his seventh homer of the season. LaHair launched a 1-1 pitch deep into the bleachers in left and gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Bailey settled down and retired the next three batters he faced (Soriano, Stewart and Johnson) to end the fourth.

Ryan Dempster’s worst inning came in the bottom of the fourth. Joey Votto pulled a 3-2 pitch into the right field corner for a one out double. Phillips grounded out to third for the second out. Dempster wanted nothing to do with Jay Bruce and walked him on five pitches. Ryan Ludwick struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) to end the inning.

Geovany Soto led off the fifth by launching Bailey’s first pitch over the wall in left. Dempster struck out swinging and DeJesus grounded out to first. Darwin Barney singled to left with two down but Castro hit a 1-1 pitch to Phillips to end the inning.

The Reds did nothing against Dempster in the fifth … and after five, the Cubs had a 3-0 lead.

The Cubs wasted a huge chance to tack on in the sixth. LaHair popped out to short on Bailey’s first pitch to start the inning. Alfonso Soriano singled to left and advanced to third on a double to left by Ian Stewart. The Reds intentionally walked Reed Johnson to load the bases with one out.

Geovany Soto was caught looking at a 1-2 pitch for the second out … and Dempster hit a soft liner back to Bailey to end the inning.

Ryan Dempster kept rolling in the sixth and retired the Reds in order.

The Cubs did nothing in the seventh against Jose Arredondo.

Other than a two-out bloop single (1-2 pitch) by Ryan Ludwick, the Reds did nothing against Dempster. After seven, Dempster had thrown 92 pitches, 61 for strikes, and led 3-0 on his birthday.

The Cubs did nothing in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman.

Ryan Dempster finished his day by retiring the Reds in order in the eighth.

Sean Marshall took over in the ninth and made quick work of Reed Johnson and Geovany Soto. Joe Mather hit for Dempster and put together a good at bat. Mather ended up doubling to left center on the eighth pitch of the at bat. DeJesus flied out to center … and the Cubs went to the bottom of the ninth with a 3-0 lead.

Carlos Marmol walked Willie Harris (3-1 pitch) and issued a four-pitch walk to Joey Votto to start the inning. After a visit from Chris Bosio, Brandon Phillips hit a 0-1 pitch toward third. Ian Stewart tried to pick the grounder and move toward third all at the same time … bottom line is, Stewart tried to do too much instead of just playing the game.

The ball went off Stewart’s glove, ended up in left and Harris scored the Reds’ first run.

Jay Bruce lined Marmol’s first pitch into right … and just like that, the Reds had the bases loaded with no outs and trailing the Cubs by only two runs.

Carlos Marmol then walked Ryan Ludwick on a 3-2 pitch. Votto was forced in with the Reds’ second run. Dale Sveum finally went to his pen and brought in Rafael Dolis.

Regardless of what the box score says, Rafael Dolis did hit job in the ninth. Dolis induced a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Mesoraco. Phillips scored the tying run. Dolis then struck out Valdez with Bruce at third to end the inning.

At the end of nine, the game was tied at three.

Other than a two-out walk by Bryan LaHair, the Cubs did nothing in the tenth against Logan Ondrusek.

Rafael Dolis started the tenth and gave up a lead-off single to Zack Cozart. Chris Heisey bunted back to Dolis on a 0-1 pitch. Dolis threw into the runner, Barney could not handle and Cozart ended up at third with no outs.

Scott Rolen lifted a 1-0 pitch to right. DeJesus caught the ball but Cozart scored easily … game over.

The Cubs finished the six-game trip with a 3-3 record, but …

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs and Dodgers open a three-game series Friday afternoon at Wrigley … Paul Maholm against Chad Billingsley in the opener.

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Quote of the Day

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  • BosephHeyden

    That’s…pretty much all there is to it.

  • Chadaudio

    “Regardless of what the expectations may or may not be for the 2012 Chicago Cubs, Thursday’s loss hurt.”
    Couldn’t have been said better.

  • ThePlainEnglish

    I have been a Cubs fan for more than 40 years and I rarely complain, but today’s game really bothers me – such a fine effort by Dempster – wasted by an ineffective closer. Marmol should be given a physical checkover and if he’s fine, then let him sit until he gets his mental issues resolved. This is the biggest problem we have and surely there’s another closer option or this season will fall apart fast…
    J in NY

  • John G

    Mariano Rivera went down tonight with a potentially season ending, even career ending, injury. Can Larry Rothschild rehabilitate Carlos Marmol?

    • John_CC

       The injury to Rivera looked bad, saw the replay, and is really unfortunate for Mo and the Yanks. But it might could maybe be the best thing to happen for the Cubs.  The Yanks have a pretty solid pen though, Robertson is a complete stud and is destined for the closer role. But then maybe they’d like to have Marmol in the 8th? 

      I know, I know … but come on, I can dream can’t I!

    • Zonk

      The problem with Carlos is mechanical; I wouldn’t put it past Rothschild to think he can fix that.  After all, Carlos’s best years were under his tutelage.

      The Yankees, or anyone else, aren’t going to bet $15 mil they can fix him, though.  Any trade would involve the providing of money or taking of bad contract.  Look on the Yankees and see what bad contract they might want to ditch.  That’s what I would do.  they have to avoid the luxury tax.

  • cubtex

    A little bit of positive after a tough loss. Hayden Simpson with 4IP 1 hit allowed 0 runs and 4K’s. I heard his velocity was up today compared to earlier in the year.

    • Joey U

      It’s about time that guy had a decent outing.

    • OttawaBob

      The ONLY positive after today’s loss is that Marmol is mercifully DONE as our closer.!!!!!!!!

    • Tony_Hall

      I love your attempt at trying to be positive…

      But it is after a move to the bullpen… 

      “All Hayden Simpson needed was a role change.

      The Cubs’ first-round pick from 2010 was 0-3 with a 7.94 ERA with 12 walks allowed in 17 innings in his first four appearances as a starter to begin the season. As a result of those poor results, the coaching staff for Class A Advanced Daytona decided to move Simpson to the bullpen as a way of potentially jolting the starter into better outings.”

      Now this doesn’t mean that he is no longer going to be looked at as a starter (they still went 4 innings), but kind of makes you wonder if the guy can’t handle single A pressure starting, how will he ever handle it with an upper deck.

      • cubtex

        Exactly. It was a bullpen role…..but who cares at this point….plus he struck out the side in the 7th and his velocity was up.

        • Tony_Hall

          Good points, just couldn’t pass up the positive comment, without adding something negative.  

          It pretty much is the requirement around here :)

  • John_CC

    Dodgers DFA Mike MacDougal … didn’t he close some games like 4 years ago?  😉

    • Zonk

      He did!  So did Kevin Gregg, who is a free agent….maybe we should get him! :)

      • John_CC

         I just threw up in my mouth.

  • matthew8510

    keep runnin him out there

  • Mark

    Today’s ball game was a joke!  Marmol shouldn’t be allowed to walk anyone.  1 walk and you’re out.  Any middle reliever or closer who comes in and walks anyone, should be out!  The Cubs have been doing this for years, along with no run support for a starter who pitches like Dempster did today.  With this club, 3 runs is nothing and certainly not enough to win a ball game.  Marmol……gone! Wood……gone!  

  • jw

    I think Hendry bid low on Marmol 20miil for three years…a steal…should have thrown in a no-trade clause (lol)… A sharp GM would have seen that Marmol had a couple of frreaky good years because of the nasty slider but really did not have staying power because of funky mechanics and no back up pitch…..what could they have got for him at his peak? Marmol was already melting down when he got the big contract… Hendry the clown

  • Aaron

    Watched the replay later today…..entirely predictable. The problem is still the fact that LaHair is the only guy on the team seemingly willing to take close pitches, running up the pitch counts.

    Having said that, I’m at least encouraged by the power shown in this rain-shortened series. 

    Marmol has clearly been used recently–even though he’s lost any effectiveness whatsoever–because the Cubs were trying to rebuild his trade value. Nobody can convince me otherwise…Theo and Hoyer didn’t get to where they’re at by being completely oblivious to player history, etc. Marmol had 10 blown saves last year. One good thing happened out of that though….both Hendry and Quade were out. If he didn’t have those 10 blown saves, the Cubs would’ve been at .500, 81-81, thus likely preserving their jobs for another year.

    But after nearly 2 years of being near the top of the leader board in walks for relievers, I just cannot fathom how they thought that’d be a good idea (to bring him back), especially after they stated they wanted hitters to work counts, and pitchers that threw strikes….it’s the same principle of them bringing Baker, Johnson, and DeWitt back….because they wanted them to build value so they could trade them.

    When Marmol blew a couple games in Spring Training, and couldn’t even come close to the strike zone most of the time, it was attributed to him working on his fastball more, even though video evidence proved otherwise.

    The league has figured him out….they have for the last 2 seasons, and as I mentioned pretty much all of last year, there is a HUGE difference between a guy that had a 95-97 mph fastball and 88-91 mph slider and the guy we’ve seen in 2011 and this year that throws a 91-93 mph fastball consistently and 85-87 mph slider. It has become far too hittable, because guys can now just sit on the slider, and have a quicker reaction time to the fastball than in years past with Marmol

    That’s why losing Cashner, Carpenter (even though he’s injured), and Marshall all in one offseason was foolish.

    Batista and Rhoderick should be in the conversation at this point, and they need to simply cut ties with Camp and Marmol.

    The problem with guys like Baker, DeWitt, Johnson, Soriano, and Marmol is that not only do they contribute very little to the team, but they also have absolutely no trade value at this point, and so the Cubs would be looking at eating $67 million in remaining salary with maybe one or two low level prospects sprinkled in.

    Yes, Marmol to the Yankees makes a TON of sense now, but the fact that we didn’t even hear rumors of Marmol to the Giants after Wilson went down pretty much says it all. Not only have the league’s hitters figured him out, but the advanced scouts and management teams also have him figured out, and nobody in their right mind would trade for him

  • paulcatanese

    While their is no excuse for Marmol’s performance, none, Sveum must take some of the heat. The bottom line is he’s the manager and the control point as to what is happening on the field.
    No excuse for him after the first walk and two more balls on the next hitter, he should have pulled him then, period.
    And it was his choice to have the infield play back with the base’s loaded and no outs looking for the double play. A calculated risk as he was willing to get out of the inning in a tie.
    That was okay, best scenerio would have been a strikout and then a double play, didn’t happen.
    Errors that are phisical(Stewart, Dolis) have to be accepted as part of the game. But mental errors are inexcusable, and the big one was, leaving Marmol in.

    • Chadaudio

      I see your point Paul, but we just don’t have any other options.  Marmol HAS to preform, because there really isn’t anyone else.  Just like a lot of big-name closers struggling right now, Sveum had to go with Marmol as “his guy” and give him a chance.  

      Sveum played the infield back and stuck with Marmol, because he had to rely on his closer to do his job in that situation.

      Now, it sounds like Marmol’s leash just got a lot shorter now (or it may even be gone altogether)… but to those wish for Marmol to be removed from the closers role… be careful what you wish for; Dolis walks a LOT of batters and Russel is our only lefty in the pen now, and Wood is too fragile.  We have no other options.

  • paulcatanese

    The sad part about today was they should have three more in the win column and 12-13 on the season. The Central as a whole is not holding up well and those three victorys would have put the Cubs in a pretty decent spot, at least respectable.

  • Cubs 31

    It is a race to see who will be the worst team in baseball.  Will it be the Chicago Cubs or the Minnesota Twins?  Another sad day for my Fantasy baseball team (2nd place – Georgia Baseball League), I dropped Marmol and added Aram to play 3rd base.

  • Tony_Hall

    Just so everyone understands what other options are out there when teams are looking to make trades.  I know, I know, teams should be only looking to help the Cubs when making trades, BUT…they actually may take a glance at some of the other teams rosters. 

    “Going by their records, selling teams are already obvious: Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Pirates and San Diego Padres. By the end of May, more teams such as the Baltimore Orioles, New York Mets, Oakland Athletics andSeattle Mariners could join that group as their surprising starts could — or should — fizzle by then. ”

    “Targeted closers: Brandon League, Joel Hanrahan, Huston Street, Carlos Marmol, Brett Myers and Grant Balfour 
    Clubs in need: Los Angeles Angels, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox, Miami Marlins 

    League should draw interest especially from the Angels and Reds. His fastball sits at 96-97 mph, occasionally touching 98-99 with great sink. He’s also got a good slider and a nasty split. 

    “Some say he has the best swing-and-miss pitch in the league,” Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said. “Opposing players say he’s just nasty.” 

    The Angels could be interested in Street and Hanrahan as well, and it is crucial for them to come away with one of them. Any one of that veteran trio can go a long way in helping stabilize the Angels’ bullpen in the late innings. 

    Cincinnati could be interested in the same three in order to push Sean Marshall back into a setup role. Marshall has shown pretty consistently that his effectiveness wanes when used in consecutive days, and he simply is more attuned to the being a setup man. Further, the Reds clearly see Aroldis Chapman as a potential No. 1 starter, but to move him from the bullpen to the rotation, they need to be able to fill the void with another relief arm. 

    The Cubs will want to try to move Marmol, but he will only have value if he regains his control. His slider is his big pitch, but his fastball command has always been shaky. 

    Myers has looked good, effectively throwing his curveball, fastball and cutter for strikes consistently. “He works fast and gets the job done,” says Astros GM Jeff Luhnow. “[Brett] doesn’t get rattled at all, even when a runner gets on, and that’s why it’s key to have a veteran in that role.” 

    The Red Sox do have Andrew Bailey returning at some point during the season, but he is a health risk and GM Ben Cherington must protect against that. Alfredo Aceves can’t be the answer, and Mark Melancon is still in Triple-A. Hanrahan. Balfour or League would fit best in Boston. 

    Marlins closer Heath Bell has struggled mightily early on; perhaps Marmol or Hanrahan could fit in Miami if Bell cannot turn it around. “

    • John_CC

       Yep.  It’s a crappy situation for us…