I would argue that Carols Marmol is the most exciting pitcher in all of baseball. The Chicago Cubs closer is always baffling either the hitters or the fans. When Marmol’s slider is working, there is no pitcher more feared. Hitters have trouble even staying in the batters box as their knees buckle in terror. When Marmol’s slider is not working, Cubs fans can look forward to a steady diet of walks and then deep shots hit out to Waveland and Sheffield.
I am not sure why there is such a dramatic difference between when his stuff works and when it doesn’t, but Cubs fans can tell what kind of day it is going to be after two pitches to his first batter. I guess the big question is: if the fans can tell, why can’t the Cubs pitching coaches tell? The bullpen coach should be able to spot an off day for Marmol from a mile away. It isn’t very difficult to call Manager Dale Sveum and let him know that Marmol doesn’t have it today. Sveum could quickly get someone else up and going to close the game before Marmol blows the save. Instead of the easy approach, the Cubs just unleash Marmol every time there is save opportunity. He does his walk to the mound, throws his warm-up pitches and then we let the chaos ensue.
Marmol has a fastball that is not overly spectacular, but when paired with his outstanding slider, the combination confuses hitters to no end. If his slider is working, hitters are bailing out of the batters box as their knees buckle. When the slider is not working, hitters just wait for a walk or look to tee off on the average fastballs they are bound to get. With a little better understand of what they are going to get on any given day, the Cubs’ pitching coaches could turn Marmol into the best closer in baseball, but it will take an understanding that you can only use him 50 percent of the time.