It was back to Wrigley Field for tonight's game between the Cubs and the Marlins. For a game with very little hitting, it was remarkably slow. It became even slower as Jack McKeon, the world's oldest manager, ran through six pitchers in the seventh and eighth innings. It takes him a long time to walk to the mound. A very long time.
After eight innings, the Cubs led 2-0. Sean Marshall had pitched a good eighth inning and the stage was set to bring in the Cubs' closer, Carlos Marmol.
Did I mention that Quade had brought Marmol in to pitch the ninth at the last Cubs' game I was at? In this case, Ryan Dempster had been pitching a gem, had thrown less than 90 pitches, but he gave up a lead off hit in the ninth and he was gone.
Shortly after that, so was the lead. The Cubs did win that game in the bottom of the ninth, 2-1, so it wasn't what you'd call a total loss.
Today, however, Marmol distinguished himself by walking the first three batters that he faced on (as I recall) thirteen pitches. This included walking the third batter who was desperately trying to bunt the runners over to second and third. Sadly, Marmol couldn't actually throw a pitch in the strike zone so it could be bunted and the Cubs could collect an out.
Marmol eventually did throw a strike to the fellow pinch-hitting for the pitcher. That ball was laced off the right field wall, scoring three, including the runner who fell down going around third who got to score anyway when Soto couldn't handle the throw home.
After one more walk (!), Marmol was done and Kerry Wood (who had warmed up in a big hurry) came in. He apparently wasn't warm enough, because he walked the first hitter he faced who was, once again, trying to bunt the runners over. At least Wood managed to walk the batter on a 3-2 pitch.
A run scoring sacrifice fly and a run scoring single later and Wood was lifted. (And looked none too happy.)
Russell eventually managed to get two more outs, one on a play at the plate.
The Cubs scored one in the bottom of the ninth to make it a not-very-close 6-3 loss.
This is what we call pulling defeat from the ashes of victory. Or something like that.
I don't entirely blame Quade. When the GM who hired you also gave the contract to the closer, then he must be your closer, right?