And to think Ryan Dempster was in good shape to receive his first road and then Carlos Marmol happened.
Didn't think I'd ever construct a sentence about the Cubs ending like that. What Cub fan, even the biggest doubters, really wanted to believe it was possible that Carlos Marmol could struggle as much as he has of late? It's utterly terrifying that the bread (Kerry Wood is the butter) of the Cubs bullpen is beyond underperforming, he's flat out screwing up.
After last night's game that resulted in not a win but a thank-god-it-wasn't-a-loss, I felt prompted to dig below the surface and tunnel my way towards understanding the troubles of my favorite Mol.
Let's start by examining the numbers for Carlos this year that really pop. After getting his bearings straight after a poor first outing, Marmol was lights out from mid-April to mid-May, going from a 2.70 ERA after his first appearance to 1.04 by May 14, striking out 32 in that time. Through the rest of May he added 19 Ks and for the first two months gave up just 12 walks, 2 HBP and one wild pitch. No problems there. In his first appearance in June, his ERA shot up to 2.43 with a bad outing at San Diego, but the cooled off until that memorable night in Tampa when he walked two and hit two batters, giving up 4 runs. Including that start, Carlos has given up an earned run in 4 of his last 6 appearances.
Dissect all that and what you'll find is that in the 15 appearances where Marmol has walked a batter, he has given up an earned run in 8 of those appearances. Doesn't sound staggering, right? Well, he's only given up an earned run or more in 11 of his appearances. Keep them off base unless they earn their way, and you're good to go, Carlos. Earlier in the season, he was great at getting guys out by clamping down with men on, now he's getting nervous. I'm going to go say this one's mental-we all know how amped up Carlos gets when he's on the mound and the season is coming along. He only struck out 12 in the month of June in 11 innings, which isn't much compared to previous months' ratios. 11 in June has also been his fewest of the year and he walked the most batters in June. That's a bit concerning.
Then you have to look at his situational stats. Carlos has an 8.35 ERA against Left-handed hitting.He has also surrendered 5 of 6 homeruns to lefties and hit 4 of them. Knowing how much Lou loves to play the percentages, if the game is close, Marmol shouldn't come in to face more than one potential lefty. He also has a 6.35 ERA on the road compared to 1.88 at home. Another thing to keep in mind.
Perhaps what makes this a scary situation is looking at Marmol's numbers a year ago. He gave up 3 home runs in almost 70 regular season innings, this year he's already given up 6. He also was equally nasty against left and right-handed hitters. He is decimating his strike out totals, already at 68 when he K'ed 96 last season. He did, however, walk just over 30 and this season he has walked 22 already.
Could it be wear and tear? I don't know about physically, but it could for sure be mentally. Only time will tell, but it looks like if Carlos can stop handing out bases on balls and making smarter pitches to left-handers, the damage should be minimal.