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Kyuji Fujikawa replaces Carlos Marmol as Cubs closer

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

Carlos Marmol is out as Cubs closer and Kyuji Fujikawa is in. (Getty Images)

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You'll recall that incumbent Cubs closer Carlos Marmol on Saturday night in Atlanta gave up a pair of homers to a pair of brothers and in the process blew yet another save.

In part because of that outing, the Cubs have decided to make a change when it comes to protecting ninth-inning leads: Marmol is out as closer, and Kyuji Fujikawa is in, tweets Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.

Marmol's numbers in 2013 are so grim as to prompt a campaign of Wikipedia vandalism against him. But it goes beyond that. His control problems (330 career unintentional walks in 516 1/3 innings) in tandem with occasional bouts of gopher-itis mean it's rarely been easy for Marmol in high-leverage situations. The Cubs, it would seem, have had enough.

As for Fujikawa, the 32-year-old rookie import had about as bad a night in Atlanta as Marmol did, but he's not freighted with Marmol's history. In parts of six seasons in Japan's Central League, Fujikawa was beyond dominant: 1.36 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 5.43 K/BB ratio. Let's also recall that Fujikawa's elevation to closer could be motivated in part by the desire to trade him as part of the ongoing rebuilding process.

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