The Marmol and Gregg Show

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In tonight’s game, Carlos Villanueva was tasked to go the distance because of the taxed bullpen from last night’s marathon, but was pulled in favor of Carlos Marmol once a bunt moved Shin-Soo Choo to second base and Joey Votto was up.  The ensuing plate appearance produced a seeing-eye ground ball.  If you look at the video, while the grounder was hit very sharply, it was within range of Darwin Barney and could possibly have been converted into an out if it didn’t roll underneath Barney’s glove and arm.  But baseball is a game of inches, and while Marmol did his job for the most part (kept the ball in the park, got the game to extras, blah blah blah) sometimes the bounces just don’t go your way.  Let’s take a look at the play-by-play:

  • Defensive switch from center field to left field for Dave Sappelt.
  • David DeJesus remains in the game as the center fielder.
  • 1.Shin-Soo Choo walks.
  • 2.Zack Cozart out on a sacrifice bunt, first baseman Anthony Rizzo to second baseman Darwin Barney. Shin-Soo Choo to 2nd.
  • Pitching Change: Carlos Marmol replaces Carlos Villanueva, batting 9th.
  • Coaching visit to mound.
  • 3.Joey Votto singles on a ground ball to right fielder Nate Schierholtz. Shin-Soo Choo scores.
  • 4.Brandon Phillips walks. Joey Votto to 2nd.
  • Coaching visit to mound.
  • 5.Jay Bruce strikes out swinging.
  • 6.Todd Frazier walks. Joey Votto to 3rd. Brandon Phillips to 2nd.
  • 7.Chris Heisey grounds into a force out, fielded by third baseman Cody Ransom. Brandon Phillips out at 3rd.

In sports, one cannot assume that events will unfold exactly as they did if only one play was changed.  However, Votto’s grounder could have been an out, and suddenly you’d have Choo on third with two outs instead of a tie game with the winning run on base and only one out.  Baseball isn’t very kind sometimes, especially not to struggling relief pitchers, and definitely not for struggling relief pitchers who pitched two scoreless innings the night before in extra innings.

This isn’t exactly a defense of Marmol, because we pretty much know he sucks at this point, or at the very best is inconsistent.  However, in the last year of his contract, he can still be useful and might still be a good trade asset for a middling prospect that could turn out to be a good lottery ticket, so we have to hope he does well.  Marmol did get the outs despite allowing the inherited runner to score.

Which brings us to new-Cub-same-as-the-old-Cub, Kevin Gregg.  We talked a bit about why the Cubs didn’t take that much of a risk in bringing him back, and Gregg, as with Marmol, had an effective inning last night against these same Reds.  Gregg got the save in spectacular heart-attack fashion tonight, if you check out the play-by-play:

  • Pitching Change: Kevin Gregg replaces Carlos Marmol, batting 1st, replacing left fielder Dave Sappelt.
  • Julio Borbon remains in the game as the left fielder.
  • Offensive Substitution: Pinch-hitter Derrick Robinson replaces Corky Miller.
  • 1.Derrick Robinson strikes out swinging.
  • Offensive Substitution: Pinch-hitter Xavier Paul replaces Alfredo Simon.
  • 2.Xavier Paul singles on a line drive to right fielder Nate Schierholtz.
  • 3.Shin-Soo Choo singles on a ground ball to left fielder Julio Borbon. Xavier Paul to 2nd.
  • 4.Zack Cozart lines out to right fielder Nate Schierholtz.
  • 5.Joey Votto strikes out swinging.

That’s two hard hit balls (one for an out), one seeing-eye grounder, and a couple strikeouts including of the former NL MVP.  That’s not too bad for a guy off the scrap heap.  And both much-maligned/hated Cubs pitchers worked against the heart of the Reds’ very good offense.  Seriously, look it up.  They’re good.  Sometimes something just clicks, and while Marmol did give up the tying run, it wasn’t really his fault that the Cubs offense only scored two runs to begin with.

You can’t predict baseball, you can only hope to contain it.

 

About Rice Cube

Rice Cube is the executive vice president of snark at World Series Dreaming. He loves all things Cubs, with notable exceptions (specifically, the part of Cubs fandom that pisses him off). Follow on Twitter at cubicsnarkonia

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