Losing stretches have a direct effect on closers. For Cubs closer Carlos Marmol, it means having only two save opportunities in his last seven appearances.
“It’s tough situation. They know and I know, but it’s the way it is. You have to take whatever the situation is,” Marmol said Monday.
“You have to do a little more work [on the side] because of it to keep yourself ready when the opportunity does come. I’m not complaining or anything. You just wait for the opportunities.”
The circumstances of rebuilding at mid-season came as Marmol had hit a stride of converting 11 consecutive save opportunities through June and July before the July 31 trade deadline.
“So far, the tough times we’ve had the last two weeks he’s handled well,” manager Dale Sveum said. “He’s had some good innings and some pitch efficient innings. In the past, you’d see closers who can’t really handle the situations where they aren’t in a save situation. There’s a different blood flow when they’re not `the guy on center stage [in a save situation.]’
Sveum gives Marmol high marks since coming back from a time in May when he was demoted from the closer role in one of the new manager’s first major decisions. Sveum has been Marmol’s biggest supporter since.
“He’s been as good as anyone in baseball in save opportunities we’ve had,” Sveum said. “He’s under contract through next year and he’ll be the guy in that role next year who has closed.
“I’m comfortable with him. He’s done a great job. People don’t realize those last three outs are tough even for the Trevor Hoffmans [601 career saves].”