CHICAGO -- After pitching in four of the last five games, Carlos Marmol was expected to get Friday off. But the Cubs closer talked his way into the game and picked up his 24th save in a 4-3 win over the Reds.
"I was ready," Marmol said. "I feel strong and I said, 'Give me the ball.' It's been a long time since I pitched well here in Chicago and I wanted to show the fans I could do my thing."
Cubs manager Mike Quade indicated before the game he would lean toward lefty Sean Marshall as his closer instead of Marmol to give the right-hander a breather. Marmol now has pitched in five of the Cubs' last six games.
"He wanted in bad," Quade said of Marmol. "He's been through his struggles, he's pitching well and I think he had something to prove here at home. My closer comes to me and tells me that, he's in."
Since a rough stretch in July, Marmol has settled down. He has an 11.42 ERA in his last 12 appearances after holding the opponent scoreless in his previous 13. But he's been better, and in his last five games has given up one hit over five innings and struck out seven.
"The funny thing is he still can be better," Quade said of Marmol. "The quality of the breaking ball is back but I've seen it even more devastating. He's pounding the zone."
What's good is that on July 8 in Pittsburgh, Marmol blew a three-run save opportunity and the Cubs lost, 7-4.
"I think he made amends real well," Quade said.