Pirates @ Cubs, Game 43

Pirates 7, Cubs 6 (L) LP: Zambrano, Marmol
Record: 26-17 (1st place)

Marmol: “I’m not perfect.”

My uncle asked me the other day, while I was watching the Cubs and Marmol walked a batter “Why aren’t you yelling at Marmol like you were at Howry?” I said, “Because the league isn’t hitting .360 against Marmol.”

It’s rare to see a bad outing from Marmol but thats what happened in the second game of this series against the Pirates. Unfortunately, it also lead to a Cubs loss. But Zambrano did not put up a quality start today either. He snapped a bat over his knee after striking out at a point in the game when the Cubs were up 4-2. Then he went out in the next inning (the 5th) and the Pirates scored 3 runs off of him.

It was a back-and-forth game due to Soriano’s ridiculous 5-for-5 day with two solo home runs. Soriano is the hottest hitter in baseball this week (Sorry Lance Berkman). We’ll look at his hitting more in-depth later.

For now, we’ll focus on Marmol. He has been just plain filthy since he came up to the bigs to stay last year with the Cubs. He was signed as a free agent in the 1999 amateur draft by the Cubs. He started as a catcher but was converted to a pitcher by 2003. After a few years in the minors as a starter (and 2006 with the dismal Cubs), he posted a 3.95 ERA and 1.02 WHIP at Iowa in 8 games in 2007 and was up to the big league club by May. Since then he has been lights out and is arguably the best relief pitcher in the major leagues today. But we all knew that, right?

So how many blemishes does he actually have on his track record with 335 batters faced in the 7th inning or later? (145 with runners on, 85 with RISP)*. Unfortunately these stats do not include post-season appearances and so the home run to Mark Reynolds in Game 2 of the 2007 NLDS should probably make this list as well. However, Marmol’s short career has been nothing short of outstanding and that is why he is allowed to walk the occasional batter and Bob Howry is not. If Marmol puts him on, chances are he will not be scoring.

*Stats are as of May 18, 2007

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