Thursday, June 28, 2007

Lou tries out his new hammer

As the Cub winning streak ballooned to six yesteday, their longest of the season, I couldn't help but look out on the field and think of Wally Pipp. You see out on the mound Uncle Lou had what he has always wanted at the back end of games. It's what he had with the "Nasty Boys" on his Reds championship team in the 1990. He had the hammer that he wants to close out ballgames. The young hammer is of course 24 year old Dominican Carlos Marmol.

When Ryan Dempster headed to the DL earlier this week, with a strained oblique, the Cubs looked to Bobby Howry to take over the closers role. Howry has been better of late, but he has been used alot recently as evidenced by the top of the ninth inning debacle on Monday night. So the last few games in the ninth inning, Uncle Lou has turned to the young Marmol in the ninth inning. Tuesday night was iffy for Marmol. He allowed 3 hits and an earned run while striking out two in the ninth. Will Ohman came in and got the last out to record his first save of the season. Yesterday was a little better for Carlos. A three up three down ninth and his first MLB save.

In today's Tribune Paul Sullivan writes about the influx of youth into the Cubs pen. I found the following comment from Marmol very interesting. Maybe this shows that the young Marmol has the makeup to close games for the Cubs:

After Tuesday's game, the 24-year-old Dominican got Piniella's attention by bluntly saying his 63-year-old manager should have left him in to finish the game.

"Why not?" he said.

When Marmol talks, Piniella listens. With a two-run lead on Wednesday, Marmol caught Troy Tulowitzki looking at a 77-m.p.h. slider and Yorvit Torrealba at a 94-m.p.h. fastball, then induced Ryan Spilborghs to tap weakly to second to end the game.

Any of you who saw that slider followed by the fastball had to be hopeful. Marmol might just be the hammer that Lou wants at the end of ballgames. It may not happen this season, but I wouldn't be surprised if it does.

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