Marlins have a closer dilemma

Marlins have a closer dilemma

Marlins have a closer dilemma
SAN FRANCISCO -- The next time the Marlins are in a save situation, who will get the ball?

Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen isn't ready to make that call. Not yet, at least.

"It's too early for me right now to think about it," Guillen said after the Marlins edged the Giants, 3-2, in 10 innings on Wednesday night at AT&T Park.

Heath Bell, trying to protect a two-run lead in the ninth, had a rough night. Rather than log his second straight save, the All-Star right-hander found himself handing the ball to Guillen after facing three batters and not recording a single out.

The Giants rallied off Bell, scoring twice off the veteran. Technically, the second run of the inning, which tied the game, came with Steve Cishek in the game. The run was charged to Bell, but Cishek was tabbed with the blown save.

Cishek, however, did a remarkable job. He worked two innings, and threw 23 pitches with 18 strikes. He was credited with the win, improving to 3-0, and his ERA dropped to 0.79 -- he has allowed one run in 11 1/3 innings.

Cishek has been brilliant, with 12 strikeouts on the year.

Now, Guillen must decide if he will go with Cishek in a save situation or stick with Bell, whose ERA is 11.74 (10 earned runs in 7 2/3 innings).

"Obviously, my job is to win games," Guillen said. "I'm going to put the best guy we think is doing the job there. This is a tough call for any position. We spent a lot of money on this kid [Bell]. But on the other hand, I have to put our best guy out there. Right now, he's not our best guy. We'll wait to see."

Bell signed a three-year, $27 million contract in the offseason. Cishek, meanwhile, is under club control, making the $480,000 league minimum.

Cishek is ready for whatever role he is needed, but he makes it clear he hopes Bell remains the closer.

"We all have all the faith in the world in Heath," Cishek said. "He's just struggling right now. He's going to have plenty of saves this year. He's an excellent closer. I have all the faith in the world in him.

"Whatever happens, happens. I'm just focused on going out there and getting outs, if my name gets called, I'm ready to go. But I hope it is Heath. He's an unbelievable closer. He's a great guy and a great pitcher."

Bell was seeking his second straight save after he worked a perfect ninth in Tuesday's 2-1 win.

"I want to be out there. I want to get the job done," Bell said. "I felt like I could [Wednesday]. But I have no history here of getting the job done. It's irritating for me, and I've got to believe it's irritating for the other guys too.

"Everybody knows my ability. For whatever reason, it's just not working out for me right now. I'm trying everything possible to make it work. The key thing is not to give up and keep going."

The Marlins are striving to get back to .500, and their win on Wednesday improved their record to 10-14.

"I give the people a lot of opportunities, but right now, we're very desperate about winning," Guillen said. "We'll see how things go."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.