A couple thousand years ago, there was an important, history changing battle in the deep, dense Teutoburg forest.
In what were then the Germanic wilds, the Roman general Publius Quinctilius Varus led three legions on a wild goose chase, ostensibly to punish some would-be insurgents. Unfortunately, he stretched his men far too thin ranging into a long, narrow valley, and in doing so, Varus had walked his men right into a trap. Arrayed on either side of the hapless Romans were various allied Germanic tribes led by Arminius, and the slaughter commenced with a fury.
In the end, Varus and the entirety of his legions (estimated between 15,000-20,000 men) were annihilated, and the couple remaining Roman garrisons east of the Rhine river were subsequently pushed westward.
Prior to this defeat, the legions had established an aura of invincibility. It’s important to understand, for context, that this was right around the founding of the Roman Empire, where there had been forty years of unprecedented expansion. The loss of three full legions sent shock waves throughout the empire, and marked a definitive end to Roman attempts at expansion into Northern Europe (though there would be punitive incursions to follow).
You’re probably wondering at this point when I’m going to start writing about the game, or if I’m going to make some loose analogy tying in some ancient battle to an 8-0 Marlins loss. I could say that, in a miniature sense, the Fish had been cruising along like the Roman Empire had, winning victories left and right, and quite suddenly were stopped dead in their tracks by the
Or, the analogy could be that the Marlins were playing so well that we became temporarily oblivious to their glaring deficiencies.
Or, maybe, the analogy is that despite a tough loss (battle), the season (war) goes on.
Truth be told, I just thought you’d like to read about a bit of interesting history rather than the details of a game where the Marlins could only muster two hits and were practically out of it by the time the third inning rolled around.
A brief synopsis for you, if you insist.
Justin Nicolino was bad. Brian Ellington was bad. The offense was bad. Forgive me if I’m not inclined to tip the cap to Mark Leiter Jr., who certainly pitched well but does not exactly define “world-beater.” With the loss, the Marlins fell below .500, savoring the sweet yet slightly bitter taste of definitive mediocrity for less than 24 hours.
Not all could be categorized as bad, though, even in a game like this. Marcell Ozuna stole a base! Junichi Tazawa and Jarlin Garcia pitched well in their respective innings of work. Odrisamer Despaigne, perhaps correctly gauging that this was in a very real sense a potential audition for more starts down the road, threw 2.2 innings of shutout ball, with 20 strikes on 30 pitches.
Finally, the best news. Three of the four teams ahead of the Marlins in the National League Wild Card race lost, so they remain 5.5 games back of a playoff spot.
The campaign continues at 1:05 eastern today as the Vanimal Vance Worley takes on Jake Thompson, who doesn’t have a cool nickname as far as I’m aware.
King Fish: You know what forget it.