Let’s hope Carlos Marmol can put the past behind him. Marmol took the loss in the Dominican Republic’s WBC elimination game against the Netherlands this past weekend. After the DR took a 1-0 lead in the top of the 11th inning, Marmol allowed the Netherlands to tie the game at 1 in the bottom of the inning. While trying to pick off a runner at 1st base, Marmol threw the ball away which allowed the winning run to move to 3rd base – that runner scored on an error by 1st baseman Willy Aybar. Marmol was disappointed that he didn’t make the pitches he needed to make to get his DR team to the next round, but was able to pick up valuable advice from major league veterans David Ortiz and Pedro Martinez.
Now Marmol is trying to re-focus on winning the Cubs closer job. He is in a battle with Kevin Gregg for the spot. Manager Lou Pinella had this to say about Marmol’s chances: “First of all, the closer’s job, it’s a job that requires good stuff, it requires that you’re available. The biggest prerequisite of the job is that you’re able to bounce back from failure because you’re going to have it. Nobody’s immune. You have to be able to clear your mind and come back the next day and do a job. This might be a wonderful experience for Marmol. You don’t like to see him give up a run like that but it happens to any great pitcher. It’s what you learn from it and how you respond to it.”
This whole development is really interesting because Marmol decided to play for Team DR at the last minute after saying he was going to skip the WBC. Who knows – if he doesn’t go, maybe Team DR wins and Marmol doesn’t have this issue to deal with. We should watch this closely. It would be great if Marmol has a good outing his next time out this spring. We don’t need Marmol thinking too much about his pitches. He had some mental blocks early in the season last year, so we need him fresh and clear all season long in 2009 if we’re expecting the Cubs to repeat their 2008 success. We’ll keep you posted.