As many of you know, I sometimes get recaps to road games posted right after the last out; I'll start writing in the seventh inning or do, depending on the score, so I can wrap it up quickly and get it posted.
Sunday, for some reason, I didn't do this. I just had a feeling I'd have to rip everything up and start over, and instead of having a recap titled "Sweep!" with effusive praise for Matt Garza's great outing and good bullpen work, I have to tell you about yet another blown save by Carlos Marmol. This one was about as dramatic as they come, two home runs and four runs allowed, resulting in a 4-3 Mets win over the Cubs. The Cubs were going for their first series sweep in New York since 1991, but now that 22-year drought will have to wait another year.
It's the 11th time in Marmol's career, and second this season, in which he's allowed four runs in an appearance. It's the second time this year he's given up two home runs in a game.
I don't know what else to say about this pitcher, who had actually been good in his last four outings, and who had to be the closer today, with Kevin Gregg unavailable after he had pitched four days in a row. The pressure must be too much for him, or (as was suggested to me by BCBer elgato), maybe he was tipping his pitches. Or both. Whatever it is, any scouts from any teams watching him today thinking, "Hmmm, maybe I can recommend him after all," likely packed up and went back to their general managers saying "Nope, not this guy, move along, nothing to see here."
At this point, as I've written before, it's probably a good idea to simply release him. He can't be counted on in any critical situation; granted, the Cubs aren't going anywhere in terms of contention this year, but loss after loss in this fashion can't be good for anyone in the organization.
One more thing about this Marmol meltdown -- and it was memorable, if nothing else -- after he gave up the homer, walk and single, I think I'd have brought Blake Parker in the game. It was clear Marmol had nothing, and how much worse could it have been? You can't completely blame Dale Sveum -- as noted, Marmol was the only real option to start the inning -- but once he's pitched the way he has, why stick with him?
All of this ruined an outstanding start from Matt Garza. The same scouts who must have been shaking their heads at Marmol likely sent great reports back to their GMs about Garza. Seven innings, three hits, two walks and no runs -- his best start of the season. Keep this up, Matt, and you'll likely find yourself in the uniform of a contender (Tigers? Giants?) in a few weeks.
Cubs starters were excellent all weekend, although keep in mind the Mets aren't a very good team. Edwin Jackson, Scott Feldman and Garza combined for 20 innings and allowed just 10 hits and two runs, with 18 strikeouts. It's just too bad that Marmol couldn't have recorded three... stinking... outs to get the Cubs out of New York with that elusive sweep.
So the Cubs head to St. Louis for a four-game set against the team with the best record in baseball, the Cardinals. Oddly enough, St. Louis is coming off a series loss to the worst team in baseball, the Marlins. That was the first series the Marlins had won all year against any team not named "Mets". The Marlins are 8-3 against the Mets, 13-44 against everyone else. Meanwhile, the Mets managed to end the season series 3-3 with the Cubs. That, as they say, is baseball.
Going forward, I would like to watch Cubs baseball without Carlos Marmol. Thank you in advance, Theo and Jed.