In what was perhaps the least surprising result to come along in quite some time, the Chicago Cubs lost a game in which they led 3-0 in the ninth inning on Thursday.
And even less surprising was the fact that it was Carlos Marmol on the hill when it happened. Marmol blew yet another save in this one, leaving the game with a 3-2 lead, with the bases loaded and no outs. The Cubs eventually lost the game 4-3 in extra innings.
Replacing Marmol was rookie hurler Rafael Dolis, who surrendered a run in the ninth, but got out of the inning, before he lost the game in the 10th inning. But even though he’ll take the L for this one, there might be a big opportunity coming up for Dolis.
After the game, Dale Sveum finally decided that he’d take a look at other options as the teams’ closer. Those other options would be either James Russell or Dolis.
Russell is the better pitcher between the two and could have the stuff to be an effective closer, but when you take the team’s only left hander worth anything and limit his role to the ninth inning, it doesn’t make as much sense.
That means Dolis is going to get his shot as the club’s closer in the near future, and it could pan out to be a very good decision.
We’ve seen Rafael Dolis flash some major potential this season. He’s got good stuff, throwing the heat and mixing it in with the breaking stuff. Overall, his stuff is likely better than Marmol’s. That’s how sharply Marmol has declined.
The only drawback of Dolis is his control. If he can keep things under control and not walk guys, a la Marmol, he could have the chops to be a solid closer for a team in desperate need of someone dependable at the back end. Right now he’s walking over five hitters per nine innings, to barely over a strikeout per nine.
So what does that mean for Marmol? With Russell already in the setup role, it will likely come between Kerry Wood and Marmol to see which righty would get the call as a setup guy, while the other is sent to middle relief duty.
Of course, Sveum could choose to roll with a closer-by-committee type of thing, with Russell and Dolis playing the matchups to close out ballgames. Either way, it looks like we could be in for a changing of the guard at the Cubs closer spot.