|Please optimize my utilization
On Friday Kevin Gregg blew a save. On Saturday, Lou Piniella did what everyone thought he'd do coming out of spring training and used Carlos Marmol as the closer. Last night, Piniella went back to Gregg. Though the game ended with the teams three runs apart, it wasn't a save situation, because Gregg came into the game with a four run lead, which was reduced to three following a dinger to Rickie Weeks. He then quickly gave up a double and a walk for extra spice. For his part, Marmol took eleven pitches to strike out two dudes and retire a third while pitching the eighth.
Closer controversy settled then? Not according to Lou Piniella it isn't:
Disputing at least one national sportscaster's suggestion that Lou Piniella already has changed his mind about his closer, the Cubs manager reiterated Sunday that Kevin Gregg is his man.
But Piniella also said he no longer will use the former Florida closer for more than one inning after learning the day after Gregg's blown save Friday that the right-hander's surgically repaired left knee tightened between finishing the eighth and starting the ninth.
This makes little sense to me unless Piniella truly plans on using Marmol in a 1970s-style "relief ace" capacity, handling multiple innings during close or tie games as early as the 7th inning when the outcome of a ballgame is often decided. I see no evidence that he plans on doing that, however, and because of that, look for the bullpen to continue to be a source of problems for Chicago in the early going.