If I told you ahead of this weekend’s four-game series against the defending champion Atlanta Braves that the Marlins would avoid the likes of Fried, Wright Morton, and Strider, you’d likely quip with something along the lines of “anything but a split would be an utter failure,” and I’d tend to agree with you.
Well, the first three games quickly showed us that even this wasn’t as easy as the thought surmises.
Looking to avoid the four-game sweep, the Fish put their hopes on the left shoulder of Braxton Garrett ahead of Sunday’s series finale.
Fortunately, Garrett seemed to embrace the assignment, though, in keeping with Miami’s recent output - having scored 3 runs or fewer in 14 consecutive games - it wouldn’t come easy.
Putting forth his 4th quality start in his last 8 outings, the 25-year-old pitched 6 scoreless innings Sunday, scattering 5 hits (all singles), 3 walks, and a hit-by-pitch on 94 pitches. Garrett’s lone start against Atlanta, coming on August 16th last season where he allowed 3 runs and walked 6 over 3 innings, was one he looked back on today, calling it the “worst outing of my professional career.”
“I thought he was really good day,” said manager Don Mattingly.
Atlanta would counter with Bryce Elder, making just his 5th career start, struck out a career-high 10 over 7 innings of 1-run ball.
Miami would open the scoring in the bottom of the 4th thanks to a Miguel Rojas RBI-single.
As the miller told his tale, though, that would be it.
Taking a 1-0 lead into the 9th following scoreless innings at hands of Dylan Floro and Steven Okert, the ball once again rested in the hands of Tanner Scott, and in all but one pitch, the frail Miami Marlins offense coughed up its atom-sized lead.
The perpetrator: Michael Harris II and his 12th home run of the season.
“But wait, there’s more.”
Scott’s disastrous 9th inning wouldn’t end there as two more Braves would come in to score, with the go-ahead blow coming on a William Contreras single that just got through the reach of second baseman Jon Berti.
Expecting a 9th inning rally would be equally as dimensions as it would kind given the current-look Marlins offense and their recent struggles.
Alas, some things never change as Miami dropped the finale, 3-1, cementing Atlanta’s four-game sweep.
When asked postgame if the organization has considered alternatives in the 9th, Mattingly noted that while they have done so, Scott is effectively the “best guy we have at the moment.”
Whether that’s a manager’s way of telling you the white flag has been waved during the current season, we’ll leave that up for interpretation. But for us, I don’t know if there’s much left to salvage at this point anyway.
The homestand continues for Fish as they get set to host the San Diego Padres for a three-game series starting Monday. In Game One, Miami will have their ace, Sandy Alcantara (10-5, 2.81 ERA), square off against Joe Musgrove (8-5, 2.91 ERA). In the 4 starts immediately following his run of 13 consecutive outings with at least 7 innings pitched, Alcantara has posted a 3.25 ERA in that stretch. First pitch is slated for 6:40 Eastern.
- Scoring just 1 run Sunday, Miami became the first team since the 1979 Cubs to go 15 consecutive games scoring 3 or fewer runs.