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MIA 4, CIN 7; Marlins find another new way to let close game slip away

The Marlins matched a franchise record by grounding into five double plays.

Shogo Akiyama #4 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates after making a sliding catch for the third out of the fifth inning during their game against the Miami Marlins at Great American Ball Park Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Anthony Bender was uncharacteristically hittable while the Marlins struggled to execute with runners on base Saturday night in suffering yet another loss to the Cincinnati Reds. The club’s six-game skid overall is now their second-longest of the 2021 season.

  • Zach Thompson—5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 26.8 CSW% (71 pitches)
  • Wade Miley—4.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 26.1 CSW% (88 pitches)

Tyler Naquin and Nick Castellanos were a two-man wrecking crew for the home team. They propelled the Reds to a first-inning lead by doubling and homering, respectively, against Zack Thompson.

However, Thompson didn’t allow any hits from the second inning onward. Through 12 major league starts, his earned run average sits at 2.97, the sixth-best mark ever for a Marlins starter through that stage of their career.

The Marlins took him off the hook for the loss by rallying against Wade Miley in the fifth. Jazz Chisholm Jr. (hit by pitch) and Jesús Aguilar (walk) pushed across one run each with their bases-loaded plate appearances. Batting with two outs in the inning, Lewis Brinson would’ve knocked in a pair himself if not for a sliding, inning-ending catch by Shogo Akiyama.

The Marlins challenged Akiyama’s catch, but the call was upheld.

Frankly, I liked the Marlins’ chances with the score tied 2-2 and relievers filing in for both sides. Despite some pre-trade deadline additions, Cincy’s bullpen is vulnerable.

Don Mattingly made a logical move, using Bender to face the top of the Reds lineup—the rookie right-hander simply failed to get the job done. Castellanos followed back-to-back hits by Jonathan India and Naquin with an RBI groundout, then pinch-hitter Tyler Stephenson gave them some breathing room by slashing a double down the right field line.

Bender completed the inning, but not before surrendering four runs (all earned). He induced only one swinging strike among his 18 pitches thrown.

For only the eighth time in franchise history, the Marlins grounded into five double plays. Each of the final three innings ended in that excruciating manner.

Hitting coach Eric Duncan was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. Understandable!

Jorge Alfaro, whose time in Miami I believe has run its course, went 2-for-4 with a run batted in. On the other hand, he also got himself picked off. It’s been an all-too-familiar occurrence—Marlins baserunners have been nabbed 20 times this season, nearly doubled any other MLB team.

Sandy Alcantara and Vladimir Gutierrez are penciled in to start Sunday’s 1:10 p.m. series finale.

Win Probability Chart - Marlins @ Reds  Baseball Savant

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