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MIA 1, STL 5; Command issues and quiet bats

Miami Marlins right fielder Bryan De La Cruz (14) runs the bases after hitting a home run against the St. Louis Cardinals in the sixth inning at loanDepot Park.
Bryan De La Cruz came off the bench to drive in the Marlins’ only run
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off an offense-fueled series win over the Philadelphia Phillies, the Marlins hoped to keep the bats hot and the opposition quiet as they took on the St. Louis Cardinals Tuesday evening at home. They didn’t do either of those.

The Pitching

Jesús Luzardo began the game throwing 99 mph and got the first two batters to strike out. It looked like he was settling in for another solid start. But it didn’t take long for the wheels to fall off.

In the top of the second, fossilized 42-year-old Albert Pujols smacked a one-out double and scored two batters later on another double by Paul DeJong. DeJong then scored from second when Jazz fielded a dribbler from Yadier Molina cleanly but bounced the throw to first, sending it past Cooper.

And the bleeding did not stop there. Two more runs scored in the third inning on four Cardinals hits. But Luzardo stayed in the game for another inning and a third, leaving the game with one out in the fifth inning and runners on the corners. Shawn Armstrong allowed one of those runners to score, leaving Luzardo with a final line of 4.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K. He threw 88 pitches, 59 strikes. The bullpen, to their credit, did not allow another run.

The Hitting and Fielding

Five runs doesn't sound like it should be hard for the team we saw over the weekend. But that team either didn’t show up, or started the game on the bench. Or, in the case of Jazz Chisholm Jr., was removed in the 6th for pinch-hitter Jorge Soler.

That, of course, came after my personal favorite moment tonight. WE GOT OURSELVES A PINCH-HIT DE LA CRUZ MISSILE!

What? You really thought I forgot to include my boy?? Highlight of my night! DLC replaced Avisaíl García in right field in the top of the 6th inning after Avisail left the game with some stomach issues. His first career pinch-hit home run was a nuke to dead center.

But back to Jazz. And before I say this I want to make sure I reiterate the fact that I will never speak overly negatively about a player or coach—it’s not how I roll. That being said, I have no idea how removing the one “game-changing” hitter after only two at-bats when you are down 5-1 is something that can be justified by lefty-righty splits and wanting to “change the game.” I am not a professional, nor do I claim to know more than the managers, but that move was just flat out wrong. Not only does it completely mess up the fielding situation—which led to another error later in the game—it absolutely shreds the confidence of a young hitter.

The best hitters on this team are being held out of the lineup or removed for reasons that don’t make sense and it’s concerning. It’s only ten games in, but do you really want the face of your franchise being pulled in the middle of a game, upsetting them to the point that after the game they quickly gathered their things and left the stadium without talking to anyone?! A player that normally chats with anyone and everyone before, during, and after games? It’s concerning.

Don Mattingly’s Postgame Press Conference

Win Probability Chart - Cardinals @ Marlins Baseball Savant

This game didn’t go the way they wanted. Sandy is pitching on Wednesday so you have a chance to bounce back. Now is the time to fix these mistakes, and I hope they do before it is too late.