Cubs manager Lou Piniella's recent decision to let setup reliever Carlos Marmol face six consecutive batters in the eighth and ninth innings -- and chalk up six consecutive outs -- may set the stage for Marmol's promotion over Kerry Wood to the closer's roll, according to XM baseball talkshow host Rob Dibble.
Basing his prediction on Piniella's track record, Dibble said Piniella will not announce a change in the closer's job but rather subtly slide Marmol into the job by bringing him into games in the eighth inning, then leaving him in the game for the ninth inning for the save. The more often Marmol succeeds, the quicker he will win the closer's job, said Dibble, who played for Piniella when Piniella managed the Reds from 1990-93.
Dibble -- co-host of "The Show" heard daily on XM Radio channel 175 -- hints that despite Piniella's claims to the contrary, Piniella soon may lose patience with Wood, who has saved four games but lost one and blown three while his ERA has ballooned nearly to 5.00.
Though Wood has chalked up 15 strikeouts in 13 innings, Marmol has recorded two saves and no losses, plus 25 strikouts in 16 innings with a dazzling 1.29 ERA.