And Carrie's face looks like a-  Well...

Did you ever notice that guy’s face looks EXACTLY like a camera?

The Muskbox is back just in time for. Well, for whatever. To celebrate Anthony Rizzo’s new (excellent) contract? Nah. To celebrate the return of the podcast? Nope. I’ll just let Carrie explain what we’re celebrating in this week’s Muskbox.

CARRIE: As we celebrate the anniversary of the last cycle by a Cubs batter (Mark Grace, May 9, 1993, vs. the Padres), it’s time for a Cubs Inbox.


CARRIE: Have a question? Send it to: Here goes.

How she still doesn’t have an official email address for this blows my mind.

Q: Who leads Major League Baseball in blown saves since 2008 — individual and by team — and where do the Cubs and Carlos Marmol rank? I know it’s not a friendly stat but I am curious. — Steve T., Phoenix, AZ


A: Here you go:

Most blown saves: 2008-13

1. Heath Bell, Jonathan Broxton, Chad Qualls, 30 each
4. Kevin Gregg, 29
5. J.J. Putz, 27
6. Carlos Marmol, 26
7. Juan Carlos Oviedo, 24
8. Rafael Betancourt, Tyler Clippard and Jonathan Papelbon, 23 each
12. Jon Rauch and Fernando Rodney, 22 each

Most blown saves, teams 2008-2013
1. Brewers, 123 blown saves
2. Nationals, 121
3. Orioles, 119
4. Marlins, 117
5. Rockies and Mets, 113
7. Mariners, 112
8. Angels, 111
9. Cubs and Cardinals, 110

When I used to teach high school, I would assign the occasional paper. Some of my students figured out that if they threw a bunch of data at me and put it in a column, it took up a lot of space and would make a short paper seem significantly longer. I’m just throwing that anecdote out there. Anyhow, 123 blown saves in 5+ years seems like a shitload of blown saves. Ha ha ha, Brewers.

A: This season, the Diamondbacks have two pitchers who lead MLB in blown saves: J.J. Putz (4) and David Hernandez (3). The Cubs’ Shawn Camp and Carlos Marmol both have two blown saves. Here are the individual leaders since ’08:

2012: John Axford, Brewers, 9 blown saves (Marmol 3)
2011: Marmol, 10 (tied with Angels’ Jordan Walden, 10)
2010: Tyler Clippard, Nationals, 10 (Marmol 5)
2009: Brad Lidge, Phillies, 11 (Marmol 4)
2008: Manuel Corpas, Rockies, and Kevin Gregg, Marlins, 9 each (Marmol 2)

Good thing we have Marmol AND Gregg now!

2012: Brewers, 29 blown saves (Cubs 21 blown saves)
2011: Nationals, 27 blown saves (Cubs 24)
2010: Orioles, 27 blown saves (Cubs 14)
2009: Mariners, 28 blown saves (Cubs 18)
2008: Mariners, 31 blown saves (Cubs 24)

D- Honestly, Carrie, did you think I wouldn’t notice that 3 of your 5 pages were just stats?

Q: Carlos Marmol had all spring to get it together. I say, release him, and bring up Chris Rusin. What say you? — Louis M., San Marcos, CA

I say you are a goddamn idiot. Release him? Honestly? Even if Marmol absolutely tanks, you can still probably get a bucket of balls and some salary relief if you trade him. Shit, even sending him down is a less-stupid option than releasing him. It’s not like Marmol should be punished. It’s not like he’s trying to pitch like ass this year. Cubs fans are vindictive idiots.

A: Marmol went through the same rough start last year. The difference this season is that Dale Sveum acted sooner. Since the May 4 game against the Reds, Marmol has made two appearances, given up two hits and walked one over 2 1/3 innings, and has not allowed a run. It seems he needs to hit rock bottom. Last season, Marmol was able to get back on track after the All-Star break, posting a 1.52 ERA in 30 games, and going 12-for-13 in save situations. Marmol has to realize he’s not unhittable.

Maybe if every single hitter in the league reminds him, he’ll figure it out.

A: “He thinks that guys are going to swing at every pitch out of his hand, and he tries to make every pitch a two-strike pitch and that’s part of the problem,” pitching coach Chris Bosio said of the right-hander. “He tries to bury the pitch and overthrow the pitch. He needs to back off. A lot of times, doing too much can be a deterrent. You’re not relaxed, you’re not getting the spin on the ball, you’re not working over the top of the ball, you’re working under the ball. Get him to relax and get him to where he was the second half of last year. That’s where we all want him to be and that’s where he wants to be.”

“That way, we can trade him and then he’s the Cardinals’ problem,” Bosio sneered, twisting Carlos Villanueva’s mustache with glee.

A: This is the last year of Marmol’s three-year contract, and he is being paid $9.8 million. It’s too early in the year to just dump him.

Carrie’s no heartbreaker!!!

A: He’s one of the seven pitchers in the Cubs’ bullpen, and Bosio and Sveum have to figure out a way for him to contribute.

“Carlos, can you please let Russell know we want him to start warming up?”

A: As for Rusin, I’d keep him at Triple-A Iowa and let him develop as a starter. He has a bright future.

I’d let him play with us in Triple-A Iowa…FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER.

Q: I’m wondering why Scott Hairston is not being considered an every day outfielder after hitting 20 home runs last year? How many at-bats is he projected to get this year? — Anthon S., Seattle

Seriously? Because he’s Scott Hairston. He has a career 99 OPS+. It’s only 45 this year. He’s not good.

A: I can’t give you a number for how many at-bats Hairston will get this year…


A: …but do know he hasn’t done enough to warrant every day status. Hairston batted .172 (10-for-58) this spring, and he’s batting .132 (5-for-38) so far. Plus, he’s been used in a platoon against left-handed pitchers, and is 3-for-30 and all three hits have been home runs.

“He’s 3 for 30.”
“That’s bad.”
“But all three hits have been home runs.”
“That’s good!”
“But he’s Scott Hairston.”
“That’s bad.”

Q: After this year, what will happen to Fitch Park and HoHoKam Stadium in Mesa? Do the Cubs own either facility? Would any other Major League team be interested in coming in and rehabbing the facilities? — Don W., Simpsonville, SC

I didn’t even mean to learn anything about HoHoKam when I was in Mesa, yet it was totally unavoidable. I’m actually jealous that Don managed to avoid all of that.

A: The Athletics will be moving into HoHoKam and Fitch after signing a 20-year lease with the city.

That’s hilarious, because HoHoKam is amazingly shitty.

A: However, there won’t be spring games scheduled there for 2014. The A’s have plans to do some remodeling at HoHoKam, including widening the seats, installing a video scoreboard and updating the clubhouse.

So, basically burning the thing to the ground and starting all over again. Gotcha. Also, widening the seats? Are A’s fans even fatter than Cubs fans, or are there just that many fewer of them?

A: The Cubs have to remove all of their stuff from the two facilities at the end of this year.

This means when the A’s were negotiating their contract, they wrote in there that the Cubs had to box up their shit and get it out. Probably so they wouldn’t keep hanging around the park asking the A’s if they miss them.

Q: I just wanted to say, three years ago, I got a 4×4 Cubs alternate jersey logo tattooed over my heart.

Here are some things wrong with this:

  1. He got a Cubs tattoo.
  2. He got a Cubs tattoo over his heart.
  3. His Cubs tattoo is of an entire jersey instead of just a logo.
  4. The jersey is the alternate, terrible jersey.
  5. He got the tattoo in 2010, when the Cubs were clearly directionless and terrible.

Aren’t tattoo artists not allowed to tattoo super-drunk people?

Q: I cannot wait to put “World Champions” over it when we win it all. — Chuck L., Janesville, WI


A: I’m sure the Cubs appreciate the support…

The creepy, awkward, misguided support.

A: …but I think I would’ve gone with “Mom” instead.

Or just get a “Muskbox” tattoo on the inside of your lower lip, like I did. WE CAN BE TATTOO BUDDIES!!!