Windy City woes for Carlos Marmol

On Thursday Chicago Cubs closer Carlos Marmol blew his seventh save of the season, the most in the majors. Entering the game with a 2-0 lead against the Florida Marlins, Marmol allowed five earned runs while failing to get a single batter out.

Highest Walk Rate on Slider - 2011 Season

He walked four batters, and eight of his first nine pitches in the inning went for balls. His first two walks came on the slider, a pitch that has spelled control issues throughout 2011. Among relievers who have utilized the slider at least 100 times this year, Marmol’s walk rate of 12.8 percent is the highest in baseball, and second-highest including starters. The Cubs closer has thrown the slider over 100 times more than any other reliever this season, so it’s certainly a concern.

Marmol blew only five saves in over 77 innings of work last year, a mark he has equaled in just his last 20 appearances this season.

Gone in a New York Minute

Fans will see Francisco Rodriguez in a different uniform for the second half of the season after the closer was traded from the New York Mets to the Milwaukee Brewers. It was huge news when New York signed Rodriguez as a free agent in December of 2008, and opinions will likely vary on his level of success with the Mets. In his years as the Mets closer Rodriguez’s 83 saves ranked as the ninth-most in the majors. That number pales in comparison to his previous three seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, when he notched a staggering 149 saves and posted an ERA of just 2.24.

According to Inside Edge, there have been several areas where Rodriguez is finding success this season. He’s allowing just 8 percent of runners to score, 4 percent below league average. He’s also using his offspeed pitches effectively: his changeup and curve have been converting for strikes 70 percent of the time (league average is 61 percent).

Stranger Than Fiction

Elias had an interesting note that came from the All-Star Game this week: Tyler Clippard was the winning pitcher, the second straight year a Washington Nationals pitcher was credited with the win (Matt Capps earned the win last season). Both Clippard and Capps won by pitching just 1/3 of an inning. Clippard got the All-Star Game win even though he faced only one batter – Adrian Beltre. He gave up a single to Beltre, but Jose Bautista was thrown out at home plate on the play to end the inning. That feat (pitcher faces exactly one batter, gives up hit, gets the win) has never happened in any other All-Star Game or in any postseason game.