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Marlins drop fourth straight game in frustrating fashion, dip below .500

Phils take game one 3-2.

Philadelphia Phillies v Miami Marlins
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

I don’t know about you guys, but there wasn’t really any point during the last series against the Washington Nationals where I felt like “man, the Marlins should be winning this game.”

Sometimes you just get out-played by a superior opponent. The Washington Nationals, despite their own battles with injuries, are simply a better team right now, and I don’t think even the most ardent Marlins fan would deny it. So while it was disappointing that the Marlins would drop three straight against them, it was also understandable and a potential outcome that needed reconciling with.

Tonight’s game was not that. Just prior to the series with the Nationals, the Marlins had four against the Phillies, a team that even the most ardent Philadelphia fan would agree is worse than the Marlins. Predictably, the hot Marlins swarmed the downtrodden Phillies, and all was right with the world.

So the Fish must’ve welcomed the opportunity to come home where they’ve played well this season and re-visit the sad, sad Phillies. It was a golden opportunity to right the ship and remain a factor in the playoff chase.

Alas, it was not to be.

Putting together the game thread for this match-up, I was struck by a couple of numbers: 4.86 and 4.81. Those are the K/9 rates of Ben Lively and Odrisamer Despaigne, respectively, and they happen to be two of the lowest I’ve seen in any matchup all year.

Going into the contest, then, one could’ve imagined that both contact was going to be there for the taking, for both teams. If I had to wager a guess at the final score beforehand, I would’ve probably said 9-8 off the top of my head, something along those lines.

As it stood, both teams would end up getting eight hits, so the score could’ve been much higher. From the Phillies perspective, you can’t really say they were unfortunate, not only because they won the game, but also they managed to get a two-run single from the starting pitcher Lively (off of Despaigne) that ended up being the difference in the ballgame.

But, c’mon you guys, it’s Odrisamer Despaigne. When you get a six inning, one run effort from a journeyman who was nowhere near part of the plan for the rotation at the beginning of the season, you say to yourself, “Sweet!” Not, “This is sustainable!”

Despaigne is going to have nights like these where he gives up three runs in four innings on 90 pitches. He’s a pitch to contact guy and sometimes that contact finds holes. You just cringe when that solid contact is made by the opposing pitcher.

From the Marlins perspective, conversely, the score should’ve been much higher; this was denied mainly due to their sudden inability to hit with runners in scoring position. The Marlins went 2-14 with runners in scoring position, extending a frustrating run this week that sees them sitting at 3-36 since the start of the Nationals series. Brutally, there were two key points late in the game where the Fish failed to capitalize:

  • With Derek Dietrich on board in the eighth, Tomas Telis looked to have what amounted to a swinging bunt base hit up the first base line. The reliever Luis Garcia picked it up and threw it away from Rhys Hoskins at first base. Dietrich, already at second, ran home and the game was tied!...

...or not.

Telis pleads his case, but the fact of the matter is the correct call was made, and Dietrich was forced to return to the basepaths, where he would stay and ultimately not score.

  • The Marlins loaded the bases for the third time in the evening in the ninth inning, and with two outs and two strikes, Hector Neris placed a perfect dagger low and away for a called strike three on JT Realmuto to end the game. The only run scored in any of those three bases loaded situations was off of a Miguel Rojas groundout.

Undoubtedly tied in to this drop in RISP production is the sudden waning of Giancarlo Stanton, who is 1-15 since Monday and had arguably his worst day at the plate in over a month in this game, 0-5 with two strikeouts and two infield pop-ups. With the rotation in such flux performance-wise and Justin Bour still as far as 1-2 weeks away, any remaining hope of sneaking into one of those Wild Card spots is inextricably tied to Giancarlo Stanton being GIANCARLO STANTON aka the world beater he’s been the past couple of months, or something closely akin to that.

If you’re looking for a silver lining, the pen was rock solid after Despaigne departed. Brian Ellington, Jarlin Garcia, Kyle Barraclough and Brad Ziegler combined for five scoreless innings.

I think sometimes, also, that good offensive performances get lost in...losses...and it should be noted that Dee Gordon was pretty great tonight, even on a day where he got caught stealing again. Three hits, a walk, a stolen base, and only the one run to show for it.

The place you don’t want to look for hope is the Wild Card standings. Don’t worry, I’ll tell you about it anyway. The loss dropped the Marlins to six back as two of the three teams previously ahead of the Fish won. In addition, the Cardinals also leapt ahead of the Marlins, again.

Dillon Peters makes his major league debut today. He’ll be tasked with stopping the bleeding. If they do, then maybe, just maybe, we can start thinking about getting back into this thing.

Courtesy of Fangraphs

King Fish: Dee Gordon (.400)

Flounder: Giancarlo Stanton (-.368)

Play of the game: Gordon single in the ninth to advance Mike Aviles (.185), but for realsies it was Neris striking out Realmuto to end the ballgame.