When I began watching the Cubs way back in 1977, Bruce Sutter was the Cub Closer and Carlos Marmol wasn’t even born yet. Yesterday Carlos Marmol broke Sutter’s franchise record for strikeouts by a reliever.
Bruce Sutter was the penultimate closer.
When the Cubs were trying to preserve a victory, Bruce Sutter was called upon. More often than not, Sutter delivered. Bruce Sutter was a joy to watch. When he entered the game, the fans rose to their feet and cheered. With Sutter in the game, the Cubs could count on him to earn a save. He was lights out. He had a split-fingered fastball that opposing batters could not catch up to. The ball would look like a fast ball, but would drop out of sight and no one could hit it. He set the Cubs’ season record for strikeouts by a reliever with 129 in 1977. He was one of the reasons that I became a diehard Cubs’ fan. Bruce Sutter was a role model to me. I was only nine years old but I knew he was a Hall of Fame pitcher. It broke my heart when he left the Cubs to join the Cardinals.
Carlos Marmol is the Closer these days.
While fans booed and hissed when he struggled last year to put teams away, I just thought that he needed some time to work on his control. Apparently, he did. Marmol has a difficult time guiding his slider because it breaks so wildly, which oftentimes leads to control issues. This year, Marmol has a better grip on his pitching and has improved immensely. He is better equipped to hit his spots which is good news.
Congratulations, Carlos! Yesterday versus the St. Louis Cardinals, Marmol struck out the first batter he faced, tying Bruce Sutter’s franchise record of 129 strikeouts in a season. Marmol didn’t waste any time. He struck out the side. Marmol, with 131 strikeouts now for the season, set a new franchise record for strikeouts by a relief pitcher. Maybe fans will appreciate Carlos Marmol more now.
Carlos Marmol, in 73 appearances, has a 2.69 era and 34 saves this year. Good job, Carlos! Keep up the good work! Hopefully, next year will be more meaningful with many more save opportunities! Nicely done!