The Marlins of this evening were not the typical Marlins of 2017.
With overall solid pitching and lackluster offense, tonight’s game felt like it occurred in ‘The Upside Down’. This was not the dimension I anticipated, and apparently Adam Conley was here to guide me through it. Like Willy Wonka on the boat ride, Conley looked unsure, wild-eyed and pretty sweaty.
Conley looked to have some bounce back success versus the Phillies, after being sent down to Triple-A New Orleans in May after 28.2 innings of work and a 7.35 ERA. With his quick, wheeling-and-dealing style of pitching, Conley worked his way through six innings. Finishing his night with eight hits and two earned runs did seem downright redemptive compared to the last time we saw him May 8. Don Mattingly said, “I think you see encouraging signs from what he’s been working on. He worked quick and the body language was aggressive.”
Giancarlo Stanton continued to do what he was
created in a lab born to do. Obliterating a thigh-high, first-inning pitch for his 29th home run of the season, Big G continued his reign at the top of National League and is only one behind Aaron Judge for the overall league lead.
In the top of the second, Conley gave up a double to Maikel Franco and a single to Odubel Herrera. No problem here, deep breaths everyone.
Next, Cameron Rupp hit a slow-roller back to the mound. Conley caught Franco in the rundown, but just nearly screwed it all up. Luckily, J.T. Realmuto turned it into an amazing 1-5-2-4 double play when he not only caught Franco, but proceeded to buzz one to second base catch Rupp trying to move up on the base path. It was all very nice and great there for a moment until Cameron Perkins singled on the next pitch to score Herrera.
The Marlins would match Philadelphia with a run in the bottom of the third. JT Riddle hit a routine dribbler up the first base line (Exit Velocity probably at three MPH) where Vince Velasquez proceeded to pick it up and rocket it into right field for an error. With Riddle rounding to 3rd, I’m almost positive I could hear Yakety Sax in the background. Velasquez then tossed the following pitch directly off the catcher’s knee which drove in Riddle. Sax Part Deux.
Throughout all of this, Conley was able to maintain his control despite looking like he just robbed the 7-Eleven on 12th Avenue and ran to Marlins Park just in time for first pitch. Conley’s fastball, changeup, and slider all became more impressive as the game continued. While the hits piled up, Conley and the defensive staff maintained a “bend some and break a little...just don’t do both all the way” kind of mentality to keep the score close.
With his night done in the sixth, it truly was better than expected. Personally, I was anticipating just another garden variety, discombobulating collapse, prepping myself to just close my eyes and lose object permanence when it got truly bad. But it never came.
Adam Conley proved me wrong tonight with a decidedly fair showing. Albeit, he was pitching to one of the worst hitting teams in baseball at a group effort of .241/.304/.393. Compared to the Marlins .263/.327/.430, they are not good at the plate. Nevertheless, Conley is back!... erm, Conley has arrived!... well, maybe not quite, but he isn’t going back to Triple-A yet!
I’ll leave Conley with a quote from my friend Bill Shakespeare. Based off tonight’s performance, I really think Shakespeare wrote these words from Twelfth Night specifically for Adam Conley, channeling his aura back in 1601:
Anyways, Junichi Tazawa continued the solid night on the mound into the seventh. Going into the stretch, he kept the inning scoreless, but needed help from the defense to get out of a jam. After walking Cesar Hernandez and giving up a single to Freddy Galvis, the Marlins turned their third double play of the game to escape. Tazawa had a downright bad June, coming into this month with a 7.50 ERA. However, he has been hot lately, this was Tazawa’s ninth straight scoreless inning in relief.
Remember how great this was over the weekend?
Marcell Ozuna is now guilty of robbery in the state of Florida. pic.twitter.com/KlFVFJnzON— Stadium (@watchstadium) July 16, 2017
Wellllll, we didn’t get a repeat of it tonight. Maikel Franco homered off Dustin McGowan in the eight inning to force the Marlins into yet another potential comeback situation. While Ozuna was honestly pretty close at snagging yet another bomb, this one was out of his reach.
Ichiro got hit No. 3056 tonight to move into 23rd place on the MLB’s all time hit list. Passing Rickey Henderson on any list is incredibly more significant on a macroscopic level than anything else that occurred in tonight’s game, but in the tight confines of the present game, the hit resulted in nada.
Dee Gordon batted next and chopped a slow-roller to the SS to retire the side for the Fish. This brought up Jarlin Garcia and the meat and potatoes of the Marlins lineup to try and pullout a victory.
However, Nick Williams, a recent call up from the depths of the Phillies pharm system, hit a two-run homer to make the score 5-2. To best describe my emotions associated with watching Williams completely disengage this ball from play, remove your shoe, find the nearest stone/metal object, and kick it with the force of 1,000 hurricanes. T’wasn’t fun at all.
Despite the teams heroics on the previous night, the Marlins just didn’t seem to have neither the juice nor the sauce to muster up any kind of challenging offensive. Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna were no match for Phillies closer Hector Neris.
The Marlins and Phillies kickoff the rubber game of the series on Wednesday at 12:10 ET in Marlins Park. Dan Straily will take on Nick Pivetta (2-5, 5.63).