The San Diego Padres own a 43-55 record, good for third-worst in the National League, however the way they played in South Florida on Wednesday night made them look like the team they thought they were last season: A playoff caliber team built around good pitching, defense, and timely hitting. Just glancing at the box score can tell you what kind of game it was. No need to look at the number of runs scored. No need to look at the hits. And no need to look at the number of errors committed. All you have to observe are the acronyms showing the role of "typical" outfielder Brian Petersen played. It read "PH-CF-P".
In front of a crowd of 19,142 that gathered at a wet Sun Life Stadium Wednesday night, the Marlins were unable to truly compete due to a poor start by Ricky Nolasco. A rocky outing lead to the Marlins' second consecutive loss, coming a night after they failed to score any runs to support Anibal Sanchez and a steady bullpen.
Nolasco didn't have much wiggle room, as his opponent for the game, ex Cincinnati Red Aaron Harang, entered the game with a record of 7-2 with an ERA slightly above three. Things weren't smooth from the start, as Padres lead-off hitter Will Venable, who only had two homers coming into the game, crushed a 2-2 pitch over the fence and the leaping Mike Stanton in right field for a lead-off home run in the first inning. It became evident that Ricky didn't have his best stuff following the Venable home run. Nolasco responded by issuing a walk to former Tampa Bay Ray Jason Bartlett, a single to ex-Marlin Cameron Maybin, and a double to Ryan Ludwick. Nolasco ended the first with the Marlins down 4-0, but he came back out in the top of the second and gave up five more to the Padres before Jack McKeon gave him the hook with an already short leash. The inning and a third effort was the shortest of Ricky's career, and pushed his ERA over 4.
"I just didn't have it today", insisted Nolasco. "It was one of those days. But as bad as it was, I still gave everything I have. I left everything on the field. That's the only thing I can ask myself every time."
Nolasco and the rest of the Marlins bullpen combined to give up 20 hits to the last place Padres, the most given up by the Fish all season. Ricky, along with relievers Burke Badenhop and lefty Mike Dunn gave up all of the Padres' 14 runs. All of the runs were earned, as the Fish played an error less game.
"Everything was just up, right down the middle", Nolasco said of the majority of his pitches. "That's what happens when you're up and falling behind everybody. There's not much you can do."
The Marlins' got their three runs on a Mike Stanton single, a Dewayne Wise pitch-hit RBI double on a controversial call that could have been ruled an error, and a Hanley Ramirez opposite field home run, respectively. The Fish went 2 for 10 with runners in scoring position and had the bases loaded and less than two outs multiple times but were unable to bring a run home. Emilio Bonifacio extended his hitting streak to 19 games, adding a game onto his career high.
Brian Petersen made his pitching debut and tossed a scoreless inning in relief. Aside from Nolasco and Badenhop, the Marlins bullpen gave up 1 run, 5 hits, and no walks in five total innings. Former Marlins center fielder Cameron Maybin had three hits and scored twice on the night. In a game for the Fish to forget about, bright spots were hard to come by.