One could have been forgiven for thinking we were in "Groundhog Day" this afternoon at Wrigley Field, with the Cubs leading 2-0 going into the ninth inning and Carlos Marmol coming into the game -- this time, to a loud chorus of boos.
The Cubs beat the Marlins 2-1, so the complaint department is closed. Mostly.
Marmol was shaky again today, though he threw a few more strikes and was able to get the slider over the plate. Mostly. He was very fortunate that Hanley Ramirez decided to make a dumb baserunning play and try to take second base on what was a clean single to center field that sent Omar Infante to third. A strong throw from Marlon Byrd got Ramirez easily and the Marlins got just one run, when Logan Morrison furiously fought Marmol through an 11-pitch at-bat before singling.
That brought Sean Marshall into the game. Truth be told, Marshall should have been brought in to face the lefthanded-hitting Morrison, but Marshall struck out Mike Stanton to end it and win the game for the Cubs.
All of this happened after Ryan Dempster threw eight outstanding innings, giving up just four hits -- and two of the hits happened after two were out in the eighth inning and Mike Quade came out to talk to Dempster and decided to leave him in the game.
This didn't necessarily seem like the right call -- it's not as if Dempster had thrown only 83 or 87 pitches, as he had over his previous two starts. Fortunately, he got Emilio Bonifacio to ground out to end the eighth inning. Great work by Dempster, who lowered his season ERA from 5.01 to 4.68 and now has a 6-3 mark (and the Cubs are 11-3 in his 14 starts) since May 1, with an ERA of 2.95 and WHIP of 1.20 during that time.
The Cubs were pretty much stymied by Ricky Nolasco -- another "didn't we see this yesterday" moment was the two double plays hit into by the Cubs in the first two innings. After getting two runners on base in the fourth, with two out Alfonso Soriano hit a popup that neither Stanton nor Infante could handle. An error was charged to Infante and both runners scored.
Here's where I nitpick, and it's nitpicky because the Cubs won the game. Why was Alfonso Soriano only standing on first base after this play? Complete lack of hustle on his part, and putting himself in scoring position might have led to another run -- hindsight, it didn't, because Darwin Barney struck out. But I'm betting that if Soriano had done that with Jack McKeon as his manager, he'd have been benched right away. Again, there seems to be no accountability for veteran players on this team.
Like I said, it's a nitpick. The Cubs played a pretty solid game today and won, unlike last night, when they played a pretty solid game and lost. The weather was nice and the announced crowd of 38,391 appeared to have about 5,000 no-shows, and again, I failed to locate more than a handful of (about six, total) Marlins fans. Also nice to meet BCB'er Gibbon Jockey today.
There's one more thing you should know, via tweet from Carrie:
#Cubs Q says he'll use Marshall, Wood as closer and give Marmol chance to work on his mechanics for a couple days. No set timetable
This is the right thing to do. Marmol doesn't look quite right; see if they can figure out what's wrong and then get him back in there. Starting pitching's been good since the break, and Carlos Zambrano returns tomorrow. A corresponding roster move, to activate Z, has not yet been announced -- I'd have to assume it'll be bye-bye to Ramon Ortiz.