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Chicago Cubs teammates came to the defense of relief pitcher Carlos Marmol after he was booed on two separate occasions in the Cubs' home-opening 7-4 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday.
"You lose some respect for the fans," pitcher James Russell said after the game. "It's your home park, they should be behind you no matter what. It's not like he's going out there trying to give up games. He's out there busting his butt every day. Personally, it gets under my skin because that's my teammate. I have his back no matter what. It kind of bugs you whenever you hear that. There's no room for it."
Marmol was booed during player introductions, then again when he came in to pitch the eighth inning.
"On Opening Day, to get booed like that isn't fun for anyone and then bringing him in the game, had to do it twice in one day," manager Dale Sveum said. "It's unfortunate that stuff happens. It's tough for all of us to see that."
Marmol was replaced as the team's closer over the weekend after giving up game-tying and winning home runs to B.J. and Justin Upton of the Atlanta Braves on Saturday. He had given up runs in his previous two outings as well. Marmol was asked if the boos bothered him.
"Not at all," he said. "I hear the boos. I don't take it a bad way. You have to enjoy. I'm not saying I have to enjoy that but I don't have to worry about it. They pay money to see us and some player not doing his job, [they can boo]."
Some teammates were more understanding of the fans' reaction than others.
"It's part of sports, it happens everywhere," Chicago native Scott Hairston said. "It's the unfortunate part. ... Initially I think all the fans want to see him go out and do well. Unfortunately, sometimes the fans, they are voicing the mood that they're in. ... Once he comes to the dugout we pat him on the back if he does have that rough outing."
Marmol gave up a first-pitch double to Ryan Braun on Monday, followed by a wild pitch and a walk, but got out of the inning without giving up a run for the first time this season, lowering his ERA to 16.88.
"To be a teammate and the whole place screaming at him, you don't want that for any of your teammates," outfielder David DeJesus said. "We hate that it's like that but that comes with Chicago and you have to understand and respect that."
DeJesus said things get "magnified in Chicago" but no matter what he would have Marmol's back. The rest of the team has the same feeling.
"His stats are not from a lack of effort," Russell said. "There's a certain respect that should come with it. ... It is what it is. It's definitely not deserving of boos."