Cubs Roster 2012: Dale Sveum Insists That Carlos Marmol Is Still Closer

Despite some early-season struggles on the heels of an underwhelming 2011, Chicago Cubs closer Carlos Marmol won't be demoted any time soon, as manager Dale Sveum told ESPN Chicago's Doug Padilla. Marmol blew his second save of the season on Tuesday to the St. Louis Cardinals in a game that Chicago ultimately won 3-2.

The 29-year-old reliever has struggled badly this season, posting a 6.35 ERA over eight appearances while blowing two of his three save opportunities. This comes after his ERA ballooned from 2.55 in 2010 to 4.01 last season. Command continues to be an issue for Marmol, as he's walked six guys in less than six innings of work so far.

One good sign is the rebound in his fastball velocity, though. After seeing his average velocity, according to FanGraphs' Pitch F/X data, drop from 94.1 MPH in 2010 to 91.8 MPH in 2011, it's back up to 92.9 MPH in 2012. While that's not all the way back, few pitchers can survive losing over 2 MPH in such a short period of time, especially when they're as wild as Marmol.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more in-depth coverage of this series, check out Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and Cardinals blog Viva El Birdos. For more from around the world of baseball, visit Baseball Nation.

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