ATLANTA—Truist Park has been a house of horrors for the Marlins since its opening in 2017, and that trend has continued early in 2023. Following Tuesday night’s 7-4 loss, Miami fell to 17-39 all-time in that ballpark. Their .303 winning percentage in that span is the second lowest in baseball among teams with at least five games played there, better than only the Pirates (4-15, .211).
Due to two-fifths of their rotation being on the IL, Miami turned to Bryan Hoeing on Tuesday night. The team selected his contract pregame and designated Sean Nolin for assignment after a rough team debut on Monday night.
Hoeing solid early, then falters
Pregame, manager Skip Schumaker emphasized the importance of Hoeing’s sinker/slider combo and how he’s grown as a starter:
It’s a real slider and a 95 mph sinker. It’s not just a 90 mph pitch, so you’ll get a lot of ground balls and balls put in play, but he has the ability to strike you out too with the slider, so I just feel like he’s really grown into a nice starter.
Hoeing relied heavily on his slider on Tuesday night, throwing it 47% of the time. His first pitch of the game, however, was a sinker that Ronald Acuña Jr. ambushed for a leadoff double to right. He would later come around to score to give Atlanta an early 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth, the wheels came off for Hoeing. He allowed four hits, a walk, and three runs, highlighted by a booming RBI double by Kevin Pillar. He was taken out of the game with two out in the inning.
Nothing turns a struggling Braves team around quite like the Marlins coming to town. pic.twitter.com/bbVskhunrR— Just Baseball (@JustBB_Media) April 26, 2023
Schumaker on Hoeing’s outing: “The first two innings were good, he had that velo up. For the last two, the velo was a little down and the movement was a bit down and they took advantage. Unlike Morton, he got a lot of balls in the air. But I thought his first two (innings) were really really good and something to build off.”
His final line: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K.
Hoeing mentioned his slider wasn’t ending up quite where he wanted it late in his start. “My slider was kind of staying out there towards the end. I wasn’t executing it where I wanted it to go. It’s a good team that’s going to take advantage. Just frustrating because I wanted to give this team a chance to win tonight and I definitely didn’t do that job.”
Hoeing, usually a ground ball specialist, expressed his frustration when he wasn’t generating many of them on Tuesday night.
“These guys lift the ball and other guys in AAA tend to hit the ball into the ground and I’d get a double play. Here, they do a good job lifting the ball and finding holes for doubles. It’s tough because I’m a ground ball pitcher. When I throw that sinker and don’t get it, it’s a little frustrating.”
Offense scores four
Jazz Chisholm Jr. who has had some success against Braves starter Charlie Morton, took him deep in the top of the third to give Miami their first run, trying the game at 1. That homer snapped a 3-for-24 slump for the young center fielder. The ball left Chisholm’s bat at 104 mph and traveled 418 feet.
Jazz Chisholm Jr. with his second career home run against Charlie Morton! His 4th on the year. It's a tie game. 418 feet. pic.twitter.com/gkqv9hdDjt— Isaac Azout (@IsaacAzout) April 25, 2023
Miami was able to score a couple more runs in the top of the 8th via RBI singles by Bryan De La Cruz and Avi Garcia, which trimmed Atlanta’s lead to 5-3.
Leading off the ninth, Yuli Gurriel slammed a ball off the left field wall that ricocheted back toward the infield. Outfielder Kevin Pillar made a great attempt at it but ran into the wall and stayed down for a bit. Gurriel was able to round the bases in 16.4 seconds at 27.1 ft/second (27.0 is MLB average). It was his 2nd home run as a Marlin.
Yuli Gurriel with an inside-the-park home run! Kevin Pillar hurt himself jumping for the ball in left and Gurriel was able to round the bases. pic.twitter.com/VVjwfx8krT— Isaac Azout (@IsaacAzout) April 26, 2023
Yuli Gurriel (38 years and 321 days) is the oldest player with an inside the park HR in the pitch tracking era (since 2008).— Francys Romero (@francysromeroFR) April 26, 2023
Previous: 2019, Hunter Pence (36 years, 1 month, 27 days).
Bullpen finally lets up
Miami’s bullpen, which has been superb all season long, finally looked vulnerable on Tuesday. In the bottom of the 6th, Andrew Nardi—who was three outs shy of a “hidden no-hitter”—surrendered a solo home run to Ozzie Albies for Atlanta’s fifth run. A couple of innings later, Tanner Scott entered and allowed back-to-back shots to Rosario and Albies. It was Albies’ 8th career multi-homer game.
A silver lining for Miami is that A.J. Puk and Dylan Floro should be very well-rested should they be needed in the second half of this four-game set with Atlanta.
Miami fell 7-4 in two hours and 32 minutes. Bryan Hoeing received the loss while Charlie Morton earned his third win of the season. Miami is back at .500 (12-12) for the first time since April 16 when they were 8-8.
Speaking of .500, because of how lopsided this rivalry has become in recent years, the Braves’ all-time record against the Marlins is now 100 games above that mark (301-201).
Ace Sandy Alcantara will look to right the ship on Wednesday night against Bryce Elder and the Braves. First pitch is scheduled for 7:20 pm.