Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

How the Cubs helped save Oli Marmol from himself in the Cardinals’ eventual victory

By Vaseline May26,2024

In what became a crucial decision late in the Cardinals’ eventual victory over the Chicago Cubs, manager Oli Marmol opted to stick with Alec Burleson as the eventual winning baserunner at second base, allowing Matt Carpenter to hit against Cubs relief pitcher Mark Leiter Jr. if Cubs manager Craig Counsell had chosen to go a different route – such as removing Leiter Jr. in favor of newly activated pitcher Drew Smyly – Marmol would have gone a different route.

Marmol admitted after the game that if Smyly had been the pitcher, he probably would have asked Dylan Carlson to pinch-hit instead. Carpenter got the call against Leiter Jr., and would have done the same against Hector Neris. Marmol also considered pinch-running for Burleson at second base, a move that would have put Carlson in the spotlight at second base.

“Can you run for him?” Marmol asked rhetorically: according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We went back and forth a hundred times. If you’re down but you don’t have a pending upgrade and also someone else who can take that at bat when Smyly comes in. … I had a feeling Siani’s at-bat was going to be a big at-bat.

Instead, Marmol stuck with his gut, all because the Cubs turned to Leiter Jr. stayed. With two outs, Carpenter delivered a single and Burleson scored the then tying run by just a few inches.

Maybe Carlson could have scored in that position too, or maybe he could have delivered a single in a similar vane to Carpenter. But if he hadn’t, Marmol certainly would have been under fire from a Cardinals fan base that was quick to blame him every chance they got.

John Mozeliak signed Marmol to a contract extension prior to the season, a move that was unpopular among the fanbase at the time. If the Cardinals fail to make a playoff run, both could be fired at the end of the campaign.

“There was never any doubt in my mind that he would not remain the manager of the Cardinals,” Mozeliak said. at the time, according to The Athletic. “But after the year we just went through, I think a lot of people would have been happy if we were both gone.”

When weighing Marmol’s future, it’s only fair to point out his good decisions, as well as the ones that continue to haunt St. Louis. It has received mixed reviews so far this season.

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