It was a rocky week for St. Louis Cardinals skipper Oli Marmol

St. Louis Cardinals Photo Day
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After Marmol’s questionable decisions, several fans are losing patience with him.

The past week was a rough one for St. Louis Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol, and many fans frustrated about the team’s sluggish start have turned their ire on the second-year skipper.

Marmol’s handling of Tyler O’Neill’s alleged lack of hustle on a play at the plate on April 4 was the initial event that rubbed some fans the wrong way. Marmol publicly called out O’Neill after the game, and O’Neill appeared to bristle at the criticism, defending his play. The proceeding online discourse centered on how many believed Marmol should not have aired his grievances to the media and should have handled the situation behind closed doors. 

When O’Neill has played, Marmol has continually placed him in center field after O’Neill mentioned during Spring Training that he would like to receive an opportunity there. But whether it’s from O’Neill’s loss of foot speed because he wants to avoid injury, a general lack of instincts in center or a combination of both, O’Neill has underwhelmed at the position and has been thoroughly outplayed by Dylan Carlson. While the center field experiment was understandable, O’Neill appears to fit better in left field.

On April 9, Marmol made a head-scratching decision in a high-leverage situation. With the bases loaded and two outs with the Cardinals trailing the Milwaukee Brewers 6-1 in the eighth inning, Marmol lifted the left-handed-hitting Brendan Donovan and replaced him with Taylor Motter so the Cardinals could have the platoon advantage against southpaw Hoby Milner. Motter struck out, ending the inning.

Fans and analysts criticized the decision afterward, with many pointing out that Donovan has not shown typical splits against left-handers: Throughout his career, Donovan has hit .288 against lefties and .276 against righties, and Marmol’s decision to replace him with an inferior hitter for a platoon advantage seemed like making a move for the sake of making a move.

Finally, on April 10, with the Colorado Rockies leading the Cardinals 6-3 with two outs in the seventh inning, pitcher Drew VerHagen fielded a slow ground ball and tossed it to the plate, seemingly getting an easy force out and concluding the inning. However, umpire Shane Livensparger ruled that Contreras did not have his foot on the plate. Although the Cardinals’ broadcast didn’t show it, the Rockies’ broadcasters noted that Contreras had actually tagged the runner coming from third base.

Marmol, though, took too long to challenge the obviously missed call. One of many new MLB rules states that the manager must immediately notify the umpire after a play that he wants to challenge the umpire’s call. Because of Marmol’s hesitance, the Rockies were awarded another run. 

The fuel has been poured onto the growing flames regarding fans’ thoughts of Marmol, and with the Cardinals currently at 3-7, the worst record in the National League, the scrutiny on the manager will continue to grow.

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