Hero of the Game: Carlos Lee (0.255 WPA)
Goat of the Game: Donovan Solano (-0.237 WPA)
Play of the Game: Michael Cuddyer homers in the sixth inning. Carlos Gonzalez scores. (-0.255 WPA)
Things were going smoothly for the Miami Marlins early in this game versus the Colorado Rockies. The Fish took an early lead off of a home run from, of all people, Carlos Lee. Even though the Rockies came back to tie the game up at one a piece, Ricky Nolasco appeared to be cruising for what seemed like the first time in ages. Nolasco had struck out six Rockies in the first four innings of work.
The Marlins took the lead when a wild pitch to catcher Rob Brantly skipped away from rookie Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario just enough for Carlos Lee, of all people, to score from third. Two innings later, the Marlins seemingly capped off a nice lead in a surprisingly low-scoring Coors Field game with a monster bomb from Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton's shot to dead center field measured 445 feet in distance.
Things were looking good by the sixth inning. They did not look good from then on.In the bottom of the sixth, things started off normally enough, with Carlos Gonzalez reaching on a one-out bunt single. My comment on the game thread following Gonzalez's single and the arrival of Michael Cuddyer, who had struck out twice before this PA, at the plate:
In true Michael Jong Institute of Jinxing (#MJIJ) fashion, Cuddyer followed that comment up with a two-run shot to tie the game. I marveled at my ability to jinx the team as often as I do.
In the following inning, Nolasco finally ran into classic Nolasco trouble, as he allowed a single that subsequently led to a wild inning. Brantly made an errant snap throw to first base that moved the runner to second. Jonathan Herrera's sacrifice bunt moved the runner to third base, after which Josh Rutledge hit a pinch-hit triple on an 0-2 breaking ball that hung up just enough to drive beyond the reach of Stanton, who had taken a poor route to the ball in right field. Eric Young Jr. dropped the squeeze bunt successfully, and the Rockies took a two-run lead.
The disappointment in this game was not that the Marlins coughed up a two-run lead on Cuddyer's homer. The seventh inning was ugly and had its share of errors, and that was frustrating to watch, but it is difficult to blame Ricky Nolasco for this loss. He finished the game with seven strikeouts and just one walk but five runs allowed, a classic 2009 Nolasco game with strong peripherals and a poor result. The Marlins' offense, facing Alex White and Adam Ottavino as paired starters, could not muster much action besides the homers and only mustered seven scattered hits. Their final rally in the top of the eighth, when Lee and Stanton reached on consecutive singles, was finally quashed with a double play grounder that killed any hopes of victory; that grounder by Solano gave the Marlins less than a seven percent chance of winning.
Nolasco pitched well. The Marlins hit two home runs. Yet the team still lost. Isn't that how it has been all season?