MIAMI—In keeping with this year’s theme against the Atlanta Braves, the Miami Marlins once again couldn’t get the job done against Atlanta, losing 8-4 on Friday. The Fish have lost seven of their last eight total games, and are 3-11 against Atlanta this year.
Julio Teheran: 7.0 IP, 5H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HR on 100 pitches
Caleb Smith: 4.2 IP, 10 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 4 K on 87 pitches
Caleb Smith has alternated between good and bad starts in his last four outings, allowing one, four, one, and in this game, six earned runs. He got through four innings relatively unscathed, aside from a first-inning Ozzie Albies solo home run.
The trouble for Caleb and the Marlins began in the fifth inning. After Smith allowed two hits to lead off the inning, Julio Teheran appeared to tell the home plate umpire that he felt Smith was balking, and to keep an eye on it. On the very next pitch, second base umpire John Tumpane called a balk, allowing the runners to advance to second and third.
Teheran then drove home a run on a sacrifice fly.
This was only the start of a landslide inning for Caleb. He only retired one more batter, but not before giving up five runs on five hits in the frame, including a home run by Braves phenom Ronald Acuña Jr.
Postgame, we learned that the umpire told Smith that he (illegally) moved his shoulder. But Smith and Don Mattingly argued that he can move his shoulders whenever he wants before he comes set. They believe the mistake changed the entire game.
“It was a bad call,” said Smith. “I don’t know what game he was watching. I didn’t balk.”
Caleb Smith wasn’t holding back about the balk call— Alex Krutchik (@AlexKrutchikFS) August 10, 2019
“It was a bad call” pic.twitter.com/X5zPQL3fPs
Through six innings, the Marlins’ bats were silent. Starlin Castro broke through in the seventh with a solo home run to cut the deficit to 6-1. Prior to that home run, Julio Teheran had throw 18 scoreless innings against the Marlins this season. Since the July 31 trade deadline passed and he converted from second base to third base, Castro’s bat has caught fire, slashing .333/.350/.615 with three homers.
The rest of the offense came alive in the eighth. The Fish scored three runs thanks to RBIs from Brian Anderson, Garrett Cooper, and Castro.
Unfortunately, it turned into yet another rally that fell short. Providing insurance for Atlanta, Acuña went deep again in the ninth (a two-run shot). The emerging NL MVP candidate now has 14 home runs in just 32 career games against the Fish.
The Marlins will get another chance at the first-place Braves Saturday at 6:10 p.m. Mike Soroka will be on the mound for the Braves, while Sandy Alcantara will start for the Marlins.
Braves vs. Marlins box score (Baseball Theater)
Fish Picks answer key