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MIA 3, ATL 6; Elieser’s struggles cost the Marlins a series win

The Marlins played eight full series during the month of May and lost seven of them.

Atlanta Braves left fielder Marcell Ozuna (20) celebrates with teammates after hitting a home run during the first inning against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot Park. Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

In the final game of a crucial 3-game set against the Atlanta Braves, the Marlins lost, 6-3. Elieser Hernandez is the losing pitcher and Max Fried is the winning pitcher for the Braves.

Hernandez immediately got off to a poor start by giving up back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the first inning to Marcell Ozuna and Austin Riley. He also gave up an RBI double to William Contreras in the next inning, extending the lead to 3-1. Ozuna provided more insurance for the Braves with another massive 458-foot blast in the third.

Elieser did attack the strike zone at a good rate, but maybe too much which led to all the hard contact. His changeup was not of any use to him—thrown 6 times leading to no called strikes or whiffs—and the Braves took advantage of his simple fastball-slider combination.

Many fans believe this should be the Venezuelan’s final MLB start. However, with Jesús Luzardo still on the injured list and Cody Poteet joining him earlier in the day, the Marlins organization doesn’t have many alternatives at the moment. That will keep Hernandez in the rotation for a little while longer.

After an early home run from Jorge Soler, Max Fried settled in and struck out 4 batters. The key sequence came in the 5th inning when he worked around a bases-loaded jam, getting Garrett Cooper to ground out directly to him (Fried won the NL Gold Glove last season).

The command for Fried looked a little bit off, but he had 13 swings-and-misses. He varied his pitches out most of the time and mixed speeds. Fried’s velocity ranged from as high as 97.0 MPH to as low as 71.0 MPH (curveball).

Fried had a long history of struggling against the Marlins. This was his first-ever win against them in Atlanta.

After the Braves four-run frenzy against Elieser, it was Tommy Nance's turn to pitch and keep the deficit manageable. That was not the case. Dansby Swanson singled against Nance and followed it with a stolen base. Austin Riley later came up to the plate and doubled scoring Swanson and extending the lead to 5-1. Matt Olson had a sac fly to make it 6-1.

Just when all hope seemed lost for the Fish, they earned an easy baserunner to lead off the 7th on a Nick Fortes hit by a pitch. Then, Jorge Soler hit his second home run of the day. His season total of 11 bombs through 45 team games puts him on pace for about 40 in 2022.

This Soler homer also moved him up on the all-time home run list for Cuban major leaguers, according to Yordano Carmona of Pelota Cubana.

Entering the 9th inning, the Marlins were down 6-3. Kenley Jansen retired Joey Wendle on a fly ball out, gave up a walk to Jesús Aguilar, struck out Jon Berti, and also K’d Jazz Chisholm Jr. to end the game.

The Marlins have now lost 7 of their last 8 series. The team finds themselves at 19-26 (4th place in the NL East), 7 games under .500. The only NL teams with fewer wins are the rebuilding Cincinnati Reds (16) and Washington Nationals (18).

Sunday was also the first time all week that Jazz played for the Marlins. He had been dealing with left hamstring tightness. If you thought he would come back at full strength and have a show-off game, that wasn’t the case: he went 0-for-5 with 2 K’s. Even so, the All-Star-caliber second baseman should be a big help for them in their upcoming games.

Manager Don Mattingly’s Postgame Press Conference:

The Marlins go into Coors Field to face the Colorado Rockies on Monday at 4:10 p.m. ET. Pablo López will take the mound against Ryan Feltner. This is a must-win series.