Marmol Blows Up And Loses Closer Job, But Cubs Win 2-1

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Sean Marshall Saves The Day

Ryan Dempster struck out nine batters and kept Florida from scoring any runs over eight innings to earn the win on Friday afternoon at Wrigley.

But the game wasn’t without drama, as closer Carlos Marmol entered the ninth inning with a 2-0 lead and gave up a run on a walk and two hits, losing the closer’s job in the process. Marmol hasn’t been his dominant self for the entire month of July, and manager Mike Quade has decided to remove Marmol from the closer job until he can work out the kinks in his mechanics.

Sean Marshall came on in relief of Marmol and struck out Mike Stanton to close out the game, after Hanley Ramirez had been tagged out trying to stretch his RBI single into a double for the second out of the inning. It’s unknown who will be the new Cubs closer going forward, but Sean Marshall or Kerry Wood seem to be good bets.

The Cubs only scored two runs off of Ricky Nolasco on the afternoon, who was largely dominant, throwing seven innings and giving up just those two runs on seven hits and a walk, while striking out seven. The runs for the home team came in the bottom of the fourth inning as Carlos Pena and Marlon Byrd scored on a fielding error committed by Omar Infante that also saw Alfonso Soriano reach first.

Those two runs would turn out to be just enough to let the Cubs even their series with Florida. The two teams play the third game of the series on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 12:05 P.M., CDT.

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Dempster Looks To Start Second Half On Good Note

The first game of the second half of the Cubs 2011 season didn't go exactly as planned. Matt Garza threw a great game, but the bullpen, specifically Carlos Marmol, coughed it up late and the Cubs found themselves 0-1 after the All Star break. Now Ryan Dempster will start for the team and try to even their record for the second half against the Florida Marlins at Wrigley Field.

Dempster, 6-6 with a 5.01 ERA and 1.44 WHIP, has been improving throughout the year. He's coming off of a start against Pittsburgh where he threw five solid innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and earning the win. In his last start against Florida, he pitched five innings, giving up five runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out three. Hanley Ramirez was 2-for-3 against Dempster in that game with a home run.

Pitching for the Marlins will be Ricky Nolasco, 6-5 with a 3.70 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. Nolasco's last start was a complete game affair against Houston, in which he gave up just one run on seven hits and a walk, while striking out eight. In his last start against the Cubs, Nolasco threw six innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on nine hits and two walks while striking out five.

The weather in Chicago is forecast to be partly cloudy and warm, with a game time temperature in the low 80's. First pitch is at 1:20 P.M., CDT, and the game will be televised on WGN and FS-F HD.

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