In the final year of a three-year, $20 million contract, Marmol blew three of his five save opportunities in Chicago this season, racked up a 5.86 earned-run average and earned a trade to the Dodgers. Things didn’t go much smoother in Marmol’s first two appearances with his new team, when he allowed four runs.
But Marmol’s last six appearances have been scoreless, and none were more important than Wednesday’s.
On a night when right-handed reliever Ronald Belisario was “basically” unavailable (in manager Don Mattingly‘s words) and starter Chris Capuano lasted only five innings, the Dodgers needed seven shutout innings from their bullpen to seal the win.
Marmol pitched two innings, allowing one hit and striking out three.
“Depending on your situation in the bullpen, different guys become high-leverage guys,” Mattingly said. “The innings change when usage is up.”
Marmol was called upon to get the final out of the ninth inning with the Dodgers trailing the Mets 4-2 and a runner on first base. He struck out Marlon Byrd to end that inning, got through a scoreless 10th inning and two more outs to start the 11th, when he was taken out of the game to a standing ovation.
“It is a good feeling,” Marmol said. “I’m glad that I’m here.”
“I thought I got it, man,” Marmol said, smiling.
He didn’t get the win (Paco Rodriguez recorded the final four outs) but Marmol might have gotten something more important: A longer look with the streaking Dodgers. Brian Wilson, another former closer, is due to join the team any day now after leaving his assignment with the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes on Wednesday.
The Dodgers are set to open a weekend series in Philadelphia on Friday and Wilson might well be there by the time the team arrives. After the game, Mattingly wouldn’t disclose what the plan is for Wilson.
For a time it seemed like Wilson would take Marmol’s place; both are right-handed and signing Wilson was the Dodgers’ only non-waiver trade deadline acquisition of significance.
Marmol wouldn’t indulge the thought.
“Bring him up — I can’t make that decision,” Marmol said. “I’m here, I try to do the best I can every day.”
Asked about Marmol after the game, Mattingly recalled his first impression back in July, after the Dodgers acquired the pitcher from the Cubs in a trade for Matt Guerrier. Like Wilson, Marmol’s Dodgers tenure began with a minor-league rehab assignment.
“All we heard was good reports about how good an attitude this guy had, how hard he was working and how happy he was to be over here,” Mattingly said. “Since he’s been here, he’s been the same way. He’s worked hard. He’s been working every day. he basically gives you an inning there, and inning here. He continues to work. I’m happy for him really.”