Marmol's struggles put Sveum in a quandry

Despite losing Sunday's game to the Mets, Carlos Marmol is still in the picture for the Cubs. AP Photo/Kathy Willens

ST. LOUIS -- What to do with Carlos Marmol?

Much of the discussion before Monday's rain-delayed game between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals concerned reliever Carlos Marmol, whose blown save cost the Cubs a win in New York on Sunday.

Manager Dale Sveum defended his choice of pitching Marmol then, but also said he might be forced into doing something different if closer Kevin Gregg was not available.

"He (Marmol) has pitched well in the seventh and eighth and even in some tie games in the ninth or 10th inning," Sveum said. "We got our closer when he has his rest, so he (Marmol) is in the same boat that he was in.

"There obviously is an obstacle about those last three outs. We're to the point where we've got to try somebody else in that role if Gregg is out.

"Those last three outs are very difficult to get for some reason."

Sveum did not know before the game if Gregg would be available to pitch Monday night against the Cardinals. He sat out Sunday after pitching four days in a row, and had even been warming up the day before that stretch.

"That's a lot of pitches thrown," Sveum said. "It will be a wait and see."

One possibility to sub for Gregg could be left-hander James Russell, who has a 1.95 ERA in 34 games this season with only eight walks and 26 strikeouts.

Not many All-Star candidates

The latest update on voting for the NL squad for the All-Star game goes five deep at the infield spots and 15 deep among outfielders. None of the players listed is a members of the Cubs.

Sveum offered two nominations -- pitcher Travis Wood and outfielder Nate Schierholtz.

"Travis has been the most consistent," Sveum said. "Schierholtz is putting together a nice season as well. If you triple his at-bats right now you are looking at 25 home runs and 75-85 RBIs. He's done really well. You've have to give the nod to those two guys."

Wood, the scheduled starting pitcher for Monday night's game, is 5-5 after 13 starts with a 2.65 ERA. Wood has worked at least six innings in all but one of his starts and that lasted 5 2/3 innings, when he allowed a season-high five runs at Cincinnati. He has allowed two earned runs or less in 10 of his starts.

Schierholtz already has matched his season-high of nine home runs, set in 2011 when he was with the Giants. He carried a .296 average and 25 RBIs into Monday night's game.