The worst part about seeing the Chicago Cubs lose a six-game hot streak is seeing them lose because of questionable calls and pitching slumps.
Coming into last night’s game, the Cubs were outscoring their opponents 36-12, with a Grand Slam in back to back games and stellar pitching. In game two of the series, Jeff Samardzija took the mound to try and help the Cubs secure another series sweep. Samardzija struck out 11 in 6 1/3 innings, escaping bases loaded jams in the second and fifth innings.
There was, however, a couple questionable calls in the first and second innings. With two outs in the first inning, Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero hit a bouncer to first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who snagged the ball behind the bag. After receiving the ball from Rizzo, Samardzija raced Montero to first, seemingly beating him to the bag, but first-base umpire Toby Basner called Montero safe. TV replays showed that Samardzija had beaten Montero to the bag and he was in fact out at first.
The second questionable call came in the top of the second inning with one out. Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock hit a ground ball to second baseman Darwin Barney, who threw a routine ball to first, beating the runner. Again Basner called the runner safe. By then, Cubs manager Dale Sveum had seen enough. Sveum rushed out to Basner to argue the call but was ejected from the game after crew chief Joe West separated the two. Again, TV replays showed that Barney had thrown out the runner at first.
Two questionable calls early in a game could be a recipe for disaster for a team, but the Cubs have been hot and it would take more than that to cool them down. The next batter Samardzija faced, Gerardo Parra, hit a solo home run, but Samardzija was able to calm down and move steadily through the D-Backs lineup through seven. With a high pitch count (115), Samardzija was replaced by reliever James Russell. Russell came out with runners on first and second with one out in the seventh. He was able to quickly put away the first man he faced. He then walked Martin Prado and came within one strike away from ending the inning when Jason Kubel cleared the bases with a double, giving the D-Backs a 4-3 lead. Cubs Right Fielder, Nate Schierholtz, tied the came up in the bottom of the seventh with a solo homerun. This was the last hit the Cubs would have all night.
Here comes Marmol. Cubs fans can all agree on one thing and that is that Carlos Marmol is not having a very good season so far. The Cubs reliever has given up four homeruns, fourteen runs, and has walked seventeen men in twenty four appearances. Last night Marmol threw 30 pitches, 17 of which were strikes, and walked four. After the last walk, Marmol loaded the bases which ended with Paul Goldschmidt connecting on a grand slam, giving the Diamondbacks an 8-4 lead.
Many fans on Twitter have had enough of Marmol and think that it is time that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer should release him. Kevin Gregg has taken the closing role from Marmol and has shown that he can handle it. The Cubs also signed Kyuji Fujikawa in the offseason as a backup plan to replace him. Now that Fujikawa is having to undergo Tommy John surgery, they don’t have that back up for Gregg. Many Fans still think that the Cubs would be better off parting ways with Marmol.
Hopefully, the Cubs will be able to snap back into their groove against the D-backs and start another streak.