CHICAGO -- Carlos Marmol heard the here-we-go-again boos Tuesday night at Wrigley Field when he served up a game-tying home run to Matt Holliday. Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio saw positives.
Marmol, the Cubs' closer, entered Tuesday's game in the eighth inning with a one-run lead, one on, and two outs against the Cardinals, and Holliday connected on a 2-2 slider. But Marmol didn't collapse. He walked the Cards' hottest hitter, Carlos Beltran, but got David Freese to fly out, and the Cubs eventually rallied for a 3-2 win in 10 innings.
"That's what Holliday gets paid for," Bosio said of the St. Louis slugger. "At the same time, that's what Marmol gets paid for [to get him out]. Nobody was more upset than he was. I think he overthrew a slider right there and it flattened out, and the big boy got it out of here."
Holliday is going to hit more home runs this season. Marmol is going to close more games, too, Bosio said.
"Bottom line, it's a home run," Bosio said. "But even more of a bottom line, [Marmol] kept that game close for us. He could've easily given in, and if he doesn't come back and do that, we don't have a chance to win the game. That's what I said to him after the game. I said, 'You could've had a complete meltdown, and you didn't.' That's what we need out of him."
Last season, Marmol blew 10 saves, the most in the National League. He has missed on two save opportunities this year, but has only had three chances. The Cubs had gone 14 straight games without a save situation prior to Tuesday's game. The last time they had a stretch that long was a 20-game span from July 25-Aug. 14, 2007.
Bosio isn't worried about Marmol's confidence being a little shaky.
"I did some digging on it," said Bosio, who is on the Cubs' staff for the first time, which has required him to do some homework. "We've talked about it. This guy's got that internal burn. He wants to do well."
Bosio said Marmol, 29, is willing to make adjustments and doesn't hide after a tough outing.
"The hard work is the biggest thing," Bosio said. "There are times with some guys who shut it down with their work, as far as postgame stuff. This guy has been consistent since Spring Training, and it's only going to bode well for him as the season goes along. That's all I can ask from these guys. Win or lose, get your work in and set up for tomorrow, and he's done that."
Bosio makes sure to tell Cubs manager Dale Sveum when Marmol needs work. The next day after Holliday's homer, Marmol pitched one inning in a non-save situation. He got three groundouts and the only hit was an infield single.
"I like how hard he's working, I like that he's trying new things and trusting his fastball," Bosio said of Marmol. "We get in that same situation [as Tuesday], he'll be right back out there again.
"He's our closer. We're going to make mistakes, not only as players but as a staff, but you've got to keep going after it and getting after it until you get it right. He gets back in that situation, he'll probably bury that slider and strike the guy out. He had [Holliday] set up for it. He just tried to do too much, and overthrew a little bit."
Marmol took over the closer duties in August 2009, and he is four saves shy of becoming the fourth pitcher in franchise history to reach 100 saves with the Cubs. An All-Star in 2008, Marmol is still learning.
"Every Major League player has something to work on, and he's no different than Roger Clemens when he played, or myself, or whoever," Bosio said. "He has some stuff he needs to tighten up."
With main setup pitcher Kerry Wood on the disabled list, the Cubs' bullpen is evolving as far as finding the right bridge between the starters and Marmol. Shawn Camp and rookie Rafael Dolis have taken over as the primary right-handed fill-ins. Marmol is the constant, and while Bosio isn't going to ignore the missed sliders, he will emphasize the positives in each outing.
"We're going to have games like this against the first-division clubs, like St. Louis," Bosio said. "We'll have the same thing against [Philadelphia] and Cincinnati and Atlanta and Milwaukee. That's what you get in the baseball season. That's what we expect. The more games we're in like that, we'll have the chance to win more, because we've had the experience."
And, hopefully, Marmol will learn from the mistakes.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.