Manager Lou Pinella finally made the switch – Carlos Marmol will be the Cubs closer the rest of the year. Kevin Gregg will serve as a late inning reliever. Pinella probably would have made the switch sooner if he had a more viable option from within. While Marmol has electric stuff, he has struggled with his control all season long – in 56 1/3 innings, Marmol has issued 52 walks! With a .163 batting average against, Marmol really just needs to throw strikes. Marmol has a 3.51 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. He has a 2-2 record with 4 saves, 27 holds and 4 blown saves. He also has 67 K’s.
Gregg finally forced Pinella’s hand after a disastrous August. In 8 August appearances, Gregg has a horrendous 11.25 ERA. Gregg blew 3 of his 5 save chances in the month and took the loss in 3 games by issuing game-winning home runs to the opposite team. Not good.
Pinella had these comments about the move: “We needed to try a different approach. We’ve been very patient, if you want to use that word. We’ve lost some tough, tough ballgames. M<armol deserves an opportunity, so we’re going to give him that chance…This wasn’t something that just cropped up overnight. That’s a tough job for anybody and he’s had some success, obviously, but lately he’s been struggling. We decided to make a change and hopefully it worls out best for our ballclub.”
Gregg took the demotion like a true diplomat: “I don’t blame them. We have to go with the hot hand right now. That’s the life of my job.”
It’s probably too little too late right now. The Cubs are 6 games behind the Cards in the NL Central race and 5 games behind the Rockies in the NL Wild Card race. The Cubs offense is average at best, but more often inconsistent and “non-clutch”. It has been a brutal, frustrating year for the Cubs and Cubs fans, and I’m sure Marmol will have some rocky moments along the way during the final 40 games of the 2009 MLB schedule.