The Marlins dropped their fifth consecutive game on Tuesday, falling to the Braves at home by a final of 6-4.
After the month of June was nothing but sunshine and lollipops for the Miami Marlins, July has been a bit of a different story. The Fish dropped their fifth consecutive game on Tuesday night, falling to the Atlanta Braves by a final score of 6-4.
The addition of Henderson Alvarez to the Marlins' rotation this month marked another reason to be optimistic about the club's outlook for the remainder of the season. The departure of Ricky Nolasco to the Dodgers will allow Alvarez to have a permanent spot in the rotation. That is unless he struggles the way he did tonight. Tuesday marked his second start as a Marlin and things didn't go all that smoothly. Alvarez labored through five innings, walking four and committing a costly throwing error that put Atlanta ahead in the sixth.
One thing that I did find interesting, was Rob Brantly's explanation to MLB.com for the reason Alvarez fell off a bit after a strong first inning:
"He came out in that first inning and he was lights-out," Brantly said of Alvarez. "He was competing and getting ahead in counts, making all his pitches, quality pitches. After that, I think we started nitpicking the zone too much. We started getting in hitters' counts. As long as we keep them on the defensive, I think we'll be all right."
Brantly's reasoning makes a lot of sense and it's nice to hear a young catcher like that understanding adjustments that need to me made for a guy that has only made two starts with the club. Hopefully Alvarez can get back to throwing more strikes and getting ahead of hitters, or else we may see more starts like we did tonight.
June Flowers Bring July Showers?
The Marlins were one of the hottest teams in all of baseball in the month of June but have started the July just 3-6. Part of the reasoning could be playing better opponents, as the recent string of losses have come against the Cardinals and Braves. Manager Mike Redmond has talked about how this team needs to play "crisp" baseball, as he calls it, in order to beat these good teams and two costly errors in Tuesday's contest that played a huge role in the outcome are a perfect example of that. Another thing to keep an eye on will be how the club makes adjustments when more trades are made later this month. Teams around the league have their eye on several Marlins' relievers and the Fish will have to prove that they can still win with further roster reshuffling. The circumstances are quite a bit different than last season, so I wouldn't expect anything to drastic or turbulent come deadline time.
The Marlins finish their three-game series with the Braves on Wednesday before welcoming the Nationals to town for the final series before the All-Star break. Holy crap, it's already the All-Star break. This season is flying by.