Between the perfect games, the no-hitters, the debut of Stephen Strasburg, and the career seasons from names such as Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Johnson, and David Price, it's widely accepted that the 2010 baseball season is a sandwich and pitchers are knawing away at it, taking it apart halfway through, and eating each ingredient separately as would a bored 8-year-old at Shoney's.
Carlos Marmol is offering us yet another reason to stop and take notice: after having struck out the Phillies' side on Friday, the Cubs reliever has struck out 81 batters in 42.2 innings. That's an average of just over 17 strikeouts per nine innings. Since we're talking about a closer, we should only stack this K/9 rate against those of other closers, so let's do that:
Best single-season K/9 rates from some notable closers
Dennis Eckersley - 10.7
Trevor Hoffman - 12.3
Francisco Rodriguez - 13.2
Mariano Rivera - 10.9
Lee Smith - 12.2
Billy Wagner - 14.9
Wagner's 14.9 rate came in 1999; while he managed 16.5 in the first half, he slowed down just a bit with a 13.1 clip in the second half. It's hard to say how much -- or whether -- Marmol's strikeout rate will level off, but for now, he's throwing jelly beans. Have you ever tried to hit a jelly bean? Yes, yes, I know they're delicious, but they're deceptively difficult to hit.
The most pressing question that remains is whether Marmol's K/9 rate will end up higher than my food references per post rate. Pizza is delicious!
For more on Marmol, head on over to our Cubs blog, Bleed Cubbie Blue.