clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bullpen Holds Strong in 4-3 win as Stanton Sits

The Marlin's bullpen pitched 3.1 scoreless innings on Wednesday night, as Gillespie's late RBI the difference maker at Tropicana

Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Don Mattingly gave slugger Giancarlo Stanton the day off on Wednesday night as the breaking news just prior to first pitch was that Stanton is dealing with a slight bout of 'side soreness'. There is speculation that this may have flared up after a collision in early May with fellow outfielder Marcell Ozuna, but Mattingly disclosed that this was a minor issue he dealt with at times during Spring Training.

Regardless of the origin of the injury, the slump that has plagued the month of May for the Marlin's most intimidating bat now has a possible explanation to quiet the swirling speculation present in the recent weeks.

A more positive note to the night was this 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

As mentioned in our daily game preview, the Ray's starter Matt Andriese had peripherals that predicted some regression, but was able to work around the contact he surrendered as Andriese finished with a line of 6 IP, 8 H, 1 BB, 3 ER, and 6 Ks on 103 pitches. The Marlin's starter, Justin Nicolino, displayed a similar line to his previous five May starts, this time with a promising uptick in his strikeouts, as he punched out six through 5.2 innings. Nicolino also tied his season high in pitches with 99, and like Andriese, he allowed eight hits and walked one, giving up three earned runs.

Bats Come Alive

With the exception of Ichiro Suzuki and Chris Johnson (0-for-9 with 5 Ks combined), the Marlin's offense displayed some great contact all night en route to 10 base hits and three doubles. Six of the starting nine had two hits, including the streaking bat of Marcell Ozuna, who now carries this stat line for the month of May...

I think an even bigger positive than a great team win for the Fish is the fact that the club did it without contributions from Christian Yelich (back) and Giancarlo Stanton (torso). While it would be naive to expect comparable production on a daily basis if both were to be out for the next few games, 13 hits today off a starter and bullpen that have been respectable on the season is a great sign for the future of the Marlin's offense.

The four runs today were scored on a Justin Bour RBI ground-rule double (3rd inning), an Ozuna 2 RBI single (3rd inning), and the difference in the ballgame, an 8th inning opposite field single by Cole Gillespie.

Bullpen Locks it Up

Jose Urena, Kyle Barraclough, David Phelps, and A.J. Ramos combined for 3.1 scoreless innings after Nicolino was pulled from the game after a long Logan Morrison HR in the bottom of the 6th (Fangraph's WPA Play of the Game).

While it would have been nice to see better control from Urena, Barraclough, and Ramos, as they each walked one batter, Phelps shined in his inning of work. Striking out three batters and allowing only one hit on 17 pitches, his cutter looked near un-hittable, relinquishing only a base hit on a curveball. While Ramos has had outings this year where his stability in the closer role has been questioned, he converted his 15th save of the season tonight, and looks like the clear option for Mattingly in the 9th inning for the time being - even though some see Phelps as one of the more probable arms in baseball to see saves in the future. This could be due to a combination of Ramos's 15.2% walk rate, 4.02 xFIP, and near 5% drop in his swinging strike from 2015, but regardless of the negatives Ramos is getting the job done.

A similar scenario developed in San Francisco with Santiago Casilla earlier this year, but Casilla settled in after a slow start. At the time he didn't really have competition behind him with a struggling Hunter Strickland and injured Sergio Romo, but this Ramos-Phelps scenario is slightly different and will be interesting to keep an eye on in the near future.

Jose Fernandez faces Drew Smyly in a great pitchers duel tomorrow at 1:10pm. Each of the 3 games so far in this series have been decided by 1 run.

Source: FanGraphs

Hero of the Game: A.J. Ramos (+.182 WPA)

Goat of the Game: Ichiro Suzuki (-.190 WPA)

Play of the Game: Logan Morrison's long HR in the 6th off Nicolino was actually the play of the game (+.318 WPA)