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Bullpen blows 5-run lead in the 9th, Marlins lose 10-9

What just happened?

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

For the first three innings on Sunday, the game appeared to be headed for a good ole fashioned pitcher’s duel. Neither team could get much going, getting a grand total of zero hits combined in the first three frames.

Miami broke things open in the fourth inning hanging a six spot. Justin Bour was balked home by Julio Teheran after he tripled to center field. Miguel Rojas singled home Starlin Castro a few batters later to load the bases for rookie center fielder Lewis Brinson, who capped off the scoring with a grand slam to left field.

Wei-Yin Chen deserves a lot of credit for what he did in this game finishing with a respectable line (5.1IP, 5H, 2ER, 1 BB, 5 K), but he had to be bailed out by Nick Wittgren in the 6th with the Braves threatening to add to the two runs they had already scored in the inning. Wittgren came in and struck out Tyler Flowers and forced Ender Inciarte to line out to left to end the jam. 6-2 Marlins.

After Derek Dietrich reached third on a Little League type play with the ball being thrown around the yard, Miguel Rojas found the seats himself to make things 8-2 in favor of the Marlins. It looked as if the Marlins would cruise to a comfortable victory on this Sunday afternoon.

The tides really started to turn some in the home half of the 7th inning, where Drew Steckenrider was erratic yet again for the Marlins against the Braves. If it seems like that only happens against the Braves in 2018 for Drew, well...

After Johan Camargo walked, Charlie Culberson singled, and Ozzie Albies walked to load the bases, Ronald Acuna singled home two runs to make it 8-4. Fortunately, Steckenrider was able to escape the jam without allowing any further damage. After seven innings, it still felt like the Marlins were in good shape to get a series win in Atlanta.

After nothing doing in the 8th inning for either side, Rojas decided he would give the Marlins a little more insurance by having his first multi-home run game. The Marlins led 9-4 headed to the home half of the 9th, needing just three outs to secure the series win.

Things changed quickly in the home half of that 9th inning when Brad Ziegler was summoned to get the final three outs of the game. The first batter of the inning, Dansby Swanson, struck out swinging, two outs to go. Things spiraled quickly from this point. The Braves would go on to bat around in the inning, started with a walk for pinch hitter Ryan Flaherty. After Albies singled and Acuna hit a sacrifice fly to score Flaherty from third, the score was 9-5, but the Marlins were just one out from victory. Freddie Freeman reached on an infield single in which he should’ve been out if Ziegler had been covering first quickly enough.

After Freeman took second base on fielder’s indifference, Nick Markakis singled him home, ending the afternoon for Ziegler. Marlins manager Don Mattingly called upon Tayron Guerrero to try to get the final out of the afternoon with the Marlins still leading 9-7. After issuing a walk, pinch hitter Kurt Suzuki drove home a run on a single to left to make the score 9-8 in favor of the Marlins. Guerrero issued a four pitch walk to Camargo to load the bases, bringing up Swanson with two outs and nowhere to put him. After battling for six pitches, Swanson did this on the seventh pitch of the at-bat...

The Braves win the game 10-9 and take the last two games of the weekend to win the series. The worst part of this walk off loss is that the Marlins wasted their best offensive performance of the season in which they had 20 (!!!) base runners. They’ll have little time to regroup as the road trip continues with a three game set in New York against the Mets. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10PM ET. Until then, this is an accurate portrayal of all Marlins fans...

Win Probability chart courtesy of Fangraphs

Kingfish: Justin Bour (.141 WPA) -- I know Swanson’s WPA was a whopping .681 because of the walk off, but Bour gets the nod because he reached base in all five of his plate appearances today for the Marlins.

Flounder: The relievers that pitched for the Marlins besides Nick Wittgren and Kyle Barraclough? Seriously, we’ll nominate Ziegler for the award since it was really him that allowed the 9th inning to reach a boiling point.

Play of the game: Dansby Swanson’s walk off single

Attendance: 28,352

Please leave any Icthy picks in the comments below. Remember, we introduced a new grand prize for the contest this season!

Today's Lineups

Martin Prado - 3B Ozzie Albies - 2B
J.T. Realmuto - C Ronald Acuna - LF
Justin Bour - 1B Freddie Freeman - 1B
Starlin Castro - 2B Nick Markakis - RF
Brian Anderson - RF Tyler Flowers - C
Derek Dietrich - LF Ender Inciarte - CF
Miguel Rojas - SS Johan Camargo - 3B
Lewis Brinson - CF Dansby Swanson - SS
Wei-Yin Chen - LHP Julio Teheran - RHP

5/20/18 Probable Starters

Name Team IP ERA FIP K/9 fWAR
Name Team IP ERA FIP K/9 fWAR
Wei-Yin Chen Marlins 16.2 7.56 8.90 4.86 -0.6
Julio Teherán Braves 49.0 3.49 4.86 7.90 0.2

Matchup Summary

After Dan Straily blanked the Braves on Friday night, Sean Newcomb had the Marlins lineup fooled for much of Saturday night. Nonetheless, Miami heads into Sunday with the opportunity to steal a series win in Atlanta and string together back-to-back series wins.

It’s fair to assume that the Marlins will have to score more than a couple of runs on Sunday with Wei-Yin Chen taking the bump for Miami. One start after being blown up against the Chicago Cubs, Chen responded with a serviceable performance on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers in which he delivered 4 13 innings of scoreless baseball. Fingers crossed we get more of the latter going forward, even if the production does come in shorter starts.

One red flag? Even when taking into consideration he’s never been much of a high strikeout pitcher, Chen’s strikeout rate is down significantly, striking out less than five batters per nine inning thus far in 2018.

Atlanta will run Julio Teheran out to the mound in the rubber match. Teheran has had a decent season to date, but there’s been a noticeable decline in his stuff (89.1 mph average fastball velocity, a career low). Martín Prado has been a glutton for punishment for Marlins fans this year as he’s slashed just .174/.240/.188 in his first 75 plate appearances, but Prado fares well against Teheran historically, going 10-for-27 with a slash line of .370/.433/.370. It’ll be interesting to see if he can keep that trend up on Sunday.

Back-to-back series wins against the reigning NL champions and a current first-place team would make for a successful week. The Marlins have a chance to accomplish that this afternoon. First pitch is set for 1:35pm ET.

Thread Question: Looking back on your years as a fan, what player from an opposing team would you have loved to end up as a Marlin? The guy could’ve been a Marlin killer capable of significantly helping the Marlins team, or just an all-around fun dude to watch play baseball and cheer on.