White Sox

Marmol is feeling good again

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Marmol is feeling good again

MESA, Ariz. Carlos Marmol stood in front of his locker acting as the translator for Rafael Dolis. A reporter asked Marmol to ask Dolis if he would like to close one day.

Close what? Marmol said as everyone burst into laughter. What are you talking about?

Marmol had just passed his first test back, throwing a scoreless inning during Mondays 2-0 win over the San Diego Padres at HoHoKam Stadium. The Cubs have 20 million invested in Marmol, so he will be their closer.

Six days earlier, Marmol had walked off the same mound after feeling a cramp in his right hand. An MRI around his neck revealed no significant nerve injury, and everythings supposed to be back to normal.

My body feels great, Marmol said. Mentally, I feel great.

Marmol did look sharp, getting ahead with an 0-2 count on four of the five batters he faced. He gave up a walk and a single, but escaped the inning, and even small steps like that should help his confidence.

If the Cubs are going to make it interesting the way Marmol usually does they will need their closer to be dominant again, and a healthy Kerry Wood getting him the ball.

As much as Marmol has been pushed to the limit over the years, he cant do it every night (which seemed to be what the reporter was getting at). Manager Dale Sveum has identified Dolis as a potential setup man, someone who throws 95 to 97 mph with some sink and can command a slider.

The question becomes: Can you do it in front of 40,000 fans at Wrigley Field?

The 24-year-old Dolis, who grew up in the Dominican Republic, saved 17 games for Double-A Tennessee last season. Hes only pitched in one game above that level, but figures to be a key bullpen piece, this year and beyond.

Ill do anything they ask me to do, Dolis said through his interpreter.

White Sox Talk Podcast: The 10th anniversary of Mark Buehrle's perfect game

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

White Sox Talk Podcast: The 10th anniversary of Mark Buehrle's perfect game

Chuck Garfien and Steve Stone take a look back at Mark Buehrle's perfect game. How did Buehrle do it? How did Dewayne Wise make that catch?

Plus, Buehrle and A.J. Pierzynski talk about how Buehrle actually told Pierzynski before taking that field that day that he would throw a perfect game and more.

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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Road struggles continue for Cubs in late-game implosion against Giants

Road struggles continue for Cubs in late-game implosion against Giants

It’s no secret that the Cubs have had their fair share of struggles on the road this season. Entering Monday’s game the Giants – the first of a nine-game road trip -- the Cubs held an 18-27 road record, 21st in all of baseball.

Things took a turn for the worse in that department on Monday night.

Clinging to a 4-2 lead in the eighth inning, the Cubs called upon reliever Pedro Strop to shut down the Giants 3-4-5 hitters. Strop, who entered action with a 4.62 ERA in 29 appearances (5.40 in July), surrendered three runs on four hits – including three doubles. The end result was the Giants taking a 5-4 lead, ultimately the game’s final score.

While Strop’s outing will get the most face time due to it occurring in a high-leverage spot, the truth of the matter is that the Cubs struggled for much of Monday’s game. After taking an early 3-0 lead, they couldn’t pull away from the Giants, watching San Francisco slowly close the gap and cut the deficit to 3-2 in the fifth inning.

The Giants actually came close to tying the game at 3-3 in the seventh inning, though Steve Cishek was able to work out of a first and second, one out jam to keep the Cubs ahead. Plus, before consecutive two out singles in the eighth inning – one being an RBI from Anthony Rizzo to give the Cubs an insurance run, the Cubs offense went through a 1-for-15 drought that began with two outs in the third inning.

At the same time, Strop struggling again is quite concerning. The 34-year-old has been the team's most reliable reliever for the past five seasons, posting sub-3.00 ERAs in each campaign from 2014-18. However, he's in the midst of a forgettable month, allowing seven runs on 11 hits in 7 2/3 innings. Strop also surrendered a game-tying home run in the eighth inning Friday against the Padres, though the Cubs were able to bounce back and win. 

Between their road woes and Strop's rough July, Monday's game did nothing to alleviate concerns over two unsettling Cubs trends. If there's one positive to take away from the game, it's that the Cubs were six outs away from picking up their third road win in seven tries this month.

Moral victories count for little when a team is in a heated pennant race, though, especially since the Cardinals took down the Pirates Monday to cut the Cubs' lead in the NL Central to 1.5 games. The Cubs have to find a way to get better on the road, and they have to find a way to get Strop back on track. Fortunately for the Cubs, there's still time to do both, as Strop pointed out postgame.

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