After a terrific first outing for Cubs pitcher Carlos Villanueva, his efforts became worthless when the bullpen took over to finish the game. Villanueva gave up just one run, Kyuji Fujikawa gave up three runs, but Marmol gave up the heart-wrenching home runs in the bottom of the ninth to B.J. Upton and Justin Upton to let the win slip right out of the Cubs’ grasp.
Fans took to Twitter after the game to express their anger, posting comments such as, “Marmol has to go,” and “Bring Kerry Wood back to close.” It was an ugly sight by thousands of fans who had every right to be upset.
While I was one of the many who was furious with the outcome of the game, I realized that Marmol was only doing his job. Okay, he didn’t do his job well, but he was just doing what he was told to do: go out and pitch in the ninth inning. If fans are going to be angry with anyone over the closer situation, it should be Cubs’ manager Dale Sveum.
It seems like Sveum is doing the best he can with this pitiful team, but there is no excuse for him to have left Marmol in the closing position for as long as he has. Sveum temporarily revoked the role from Marmol last spring and replaced him with Wood who, as much as I hate to say it, wasn’t any more reliable in the ninth inning. Once Wood retired, Sveum threw Marmol back into the closing position.
Sveum has been more than generous when it comes to giving Marmol opportunities to get his game together and go out and pitch a good game. When do these second chances stop? As of Sunday night, the Cubs should be 4-2, but they’re not, partially because of their inconsistent closer.
There needs to be some serious changes made in this organization. Sveum, you gave Marmol a chance to prove himself, and he failed. This is your team; it’s time to take control and give the role of closing pitcher to someone more deserving, someone who can help this team. Otherwise, we’re going to be in for a very long season of Cubs baseball.