Picking up your man has multiple connotations in the game of baseball.
For the Miami Marlins on Wednesday though, it appears their bullpen failed to get the memo.
Starter Jesús Luzardo continued to assert his case for a 2023 rotation spot, striking out 11 Cubs hitters over 6 2⁄3 innings of 1-run ball. The only real mistake against Luzardo came on the 7th inning home run to Patrick Wisdom. Over his 88 1⁄3 innings pitched this season, Luzardo has posted a 10.4 K9.
“All night, he was in the zone, on the attack,” said Don Mattingly.
Jesús Luzardo gets his 100th strikeout of the season (took him 87.1 IP) pic.twitter.com/lKJSN7f1Ut— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) September 22, 2022
“What my stuff does gets outs,” said Luzardo. “Working with Mel, I worked on filling up the zone.”
Thanks to a pair of long balls courtesy of Luzardo’s battery mate, Nick Fortes, and first baseman Lewin Díaz—who’s gone deep twice in his last five games—Miami entered the 8th inning with a 3-1 lead.
Nick Fortes opposite-field pic.twitter.com/cb3PVdMCmW— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) September 22, 2022
In keeping with what has defined his tenure with the Marlins, Steven Okert’s command would be missing in action, as the slider specialist issued back-to-back walks to Zach McKinstry and Christopher Morel. In 51.1 innings this season, Okert has averaged 4.56 BB9.
A bunt by Esteban Quiroz and ensuing throwing error on behalf of Okert would cut Miami’s lead down to 1.
Out came Mattingly from the dugout, and emerged came Dylan Floro from the bullpen; second and third, no outs, David Bote set to hit.
On a ground ball to the sure-handed Miguel Rojas (the NL leader in defensive runs saved at shortstop), an errant throw would see Morel slide safely into home. The score was now tied as Quiroz, representing the tying run, stand 90 feet away at third. Five pitches later, as the Ian Happ fly ball descended into the glove of Jon Berti in left, Quiroz began his heroic trot home.
The Cubs had managed to score 3 runs without the benefit of a hit.
And given the nature in which one-run games have manifested for the Marlins this year, that 4-3 Chicago lead would hold. Luzardo’s chance at a victory was zapped from him thanks to a simultaneous lack of late-game heroics with rare defensive miscues.
Post script: 61-89.
It’s almost over, folks.
With a scheduled off day scheduled on Thursday, Miami will rest at home as they await the arrival of the Washington Nationals for their final three matchups of the season. The cellar-dwelling Nats will send Josiah Gray (7-9, 5.14 ERA) to the mound. First pitch is slated for 6:40 Eastern from loanDepot Park.
- The Marlins tied a single-season franchise record with their 37th one-run loss. Miami previously lost 37 one-run games in their inaugural 1993 campaign.
- All-Star second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr. confirmed on the Bally Sports Florida broadcast that he’ll represent Great Britain in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. The 24-year-old Bahamian underwent meniscus surgery last week, and for the first time on Wednesday, he admitted publicly that he suffered the injury way back in spring training.
- In allowing 3 runs on 0 hits while failing to record an out, Okert became the second reliever in as may days to do so. Arizona’s Kevin Ginkel accomplished the unceremonious feat in Tuesday’s 6-5 loss to the Dodgers.