Welcome to the second half of the MLB season. Your gift? A crushing loss to the best team in baseball. The Marlins (41-47) lost to the Dodgers (62-29) by the score of 6-4, after being one strike away from a win. Ouch.
Dan Straily took the ball for the Marlins and looked to continue his strong season. It wasn’t his best outing but he kept the deadly Dodgers offense in check.
After stranding two singles in the first inning, Straily allowed a double to Joc Pederson and a single to Yasmani Grandal to lead off the second. He got Yasiel Puig to line out to third base and struck out Brandon McCarthy trying to bunt Grandal over to second. With two outs in the inning, Grandal took off for second base. J.T. Realmuto threw it down to Dee Gordon who dropped the ball and allowed Pederson to score from third. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. Things could have been worse if not for Marlins first half MVP Marcell Ozuna. Taylor slapped a single into left field in front of Ozuna. Grandal tried to score, but Ozuna made a perfect throw to the plate on one hop to nab him. Big time play.
The Marlins would tie the game up at one run-a-piece in the bottom of the fourth. After McCarthy retired two batters on five pitches, Martin Prado smashed a double to centerfield. Realmuto brought him home three pitches later with an RBI single. When it’s your team doing the scoring, two-out runs are fun.
The game didn’t stay tied for long. Yasiel Puig connected on the first pitch of the top of the fifth inning and sent it into the left field seats. Three batters later, Corey Seager also went yard. You never like giving up home runs, but at-least Straily only gave up solo shots. After retiring Justin Turner to end the fifth inning, Don Mattingly had seen enough. With 84 pitches, he decided to pinch hit for Straily. The final line: 5 IP, 8 H, 3 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 1 K. He’s had better nights.
Ichiro Suzuki was the pinch hitter to lead off the bottom of the fifth and he was hit by a pitch. That’s one way to wake you up after sitting on the bench for half the game. Dee Gordon then tried to bunt for a hit, but Grandal picked up the ball and threw a dart to second base to get the force. On the next pitch, Giancarlo Stanton scorched a ball into the right-centerfield gap. Gordon raced around from first and scored the second run of the game for the Marlins. After McCarthy struck out Christian Yelich, he walked Marcell Ozuna to put the go ahead run on base. Justin Bour then came up big once again. A two-run double to the opposite field gave the Marlins a 4-3 lead. How many big hits has Bour had this season? I’ve lost count.
Junichi Tazawa, Kyle Barraclough, and David Phelps would combine for three strong innings out of the bullpen. No runs, no hits, one walk, and three strikeouts. That’s what Marlins fans have expected out of this bullpen all season long.
The ninth inning started promising for A.J. Ramos (L, 2-4). He got rookie sensation Cody Bellinger to groundout and Logan Forsythe to strikeout. One out away from a great win.
Pederson kept things alive with a single to right field. After walking Grandal, Puig would step to the plate. Ramos got ahead in the count 0-2 but could not seal the deal. With one loud swing, Puig snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. He crushed his second homer of the night off of the statue in left field. It was a no doubter.
The Marlins put up no fight in the bottom of the ninth inning against the best closer in baseball, Kenley Jansen. Ho-hum. Another winnable game blown by the bullpen.
Here is the painful to look at Fangraphs win expectancy graph.
The Marlins will look to shake off the difficult loss on Saturday night. Game time is 7:10 PM. It will be Jose Urena taking on Alex Wood and his 1.67 ERA.