I was both thrilled and disappointed to discover that a dinosaur was present at Marlins Park yesterday. Thrilled because the image amuses me endlessly. Disappointed because I already used up my year's allotment of Jurassic Park references in another Fish Cap.
How does this relate to the baseball game? I'm still working on that part, and I will get back to you.
The Marlins Come Back, Lose Anyway
A three run deficit for the Miami Marlins gives me a feeling akin to staring into a dark, bottomless pit. Despair overwhelms any of my rational senses telling me how awful Colorado's pitching can be. After all, the Marlins are the worst hitting team of the new century. Don't believe me? See for yourself.
I like to mention that statistic not because I love thinking about how dismal the offense is, but because it instantly provides context for the suffering Marlins fans endure. We are not just witnessing failure. Failure is ordinary. We are witnessing historically bad failure.
Then the Marlins defied my incredibly low expectations. Justin Ruggiano hit a home run. Two innings later, the offense strung together hits. In consecutive order! Double, single, walk, single. Two more runs on the board, and the Marlins and Rockies were tied. This reads like a story of triumph. Unfortunately, one needs good pitching to win baseball games.
Goodness, Jacob Turner Is Not Pitching Like Clayton Kershaw!
The Jacob Turner machine is running on fumes, spitting out engine parts, and making a horrible groaning noise. Yesterday's game helped to cement this feeling of mine that has been growing in the past few weeks.
He struck out only one batter in nearly six innings pitched against the Rockies, allowing four runs to score. I want Turner to succeed more than anything, but I can also see he isn't the same pitcher that he was in June.
I considered for a moment that he might be overtaxed - thinking perhaps he has pitched more innings this year than before. Baseball Reference shot a giant hole in this theory within ten seconds. Turner pitched a combined 154 innings last season, versus 148 so far this year. His best starts last year came in September.
My next hypothesis was that he is being negatively affected by luck, but Turner actually has a .304 Batting Average on Balls In Play (BABIP) in August.
The truth may be even more disheartening. He's walking a ton of batters, and not getting many whiffs. In fact, he has more walks than strikeouts this month. This is almost always a recipe for disaster.
Of course, I'm not privy to the latest health information on Jacob Turner. There could very well be some undisclosed issue or general fatigue. The best we can do is speculate, and hope that he pitches well again next month.