The Miami Marlins couldn’t win a single game in New York this weekend, and on Sunday were finished off by the New York Mets, 7-6 in front of a packed house at Citi Field. The game continued a disappointing trend where the Marlins (3-10) have fallen behind the eight ball early, shown life late in games and gotten right on the brink of rallying before ultimately falling just short.
Matt Harvey started for the Mets (10-3) on Sunday and actually appeared vulnerable against a lifeless Marlins lineup. Harvey tossed six innings of four-run ball, striking out seven and walking none. The crowd of 41,234 was into it, as they always are when Harvey takes the mound, and was about as loud on TV as I can ever remember during a Mets game.
For the Marlins, Tom Koehler got the nod and went through the Mets lineup unscathed the first time around. But the New York hitters caught on quickly the second time through, and jumped on Koehler in the fourth inning. Curtis Granderson led off the frame with the Mets’ first hit of the game, and Travis d’Arnaud followed suit. Lucas Duda then walked to load the bases, and four consecutive RBI hits including a three-RBI double by Ruben Tejada resulted in a seven-run frame for the Mets, and Koehler being pulled after just 3.1 innings.
Koehler allowed five hits, issued two walks and was charged with all seven fourth-inning runs.
The fourth inning left the Mets with a crooked 7-1 lead and the game looked out of reach –I won’t lie, I turned it off–especially with Harvey on the mound. But the Marlins clawed back into it and, like last night, nearly came back at the end. Giancarlo Stanton provided an RBI single off Harvey in the sixth, scoring Dee Gordon from second. Then in the seventh, Adeiny Hechavarria singled home Marcell Ozuna for Miami’s third run, and finally pushed Harvey out of the game. An Alex Torres wild pitched then scored J.T. Realmuto to make the score 7-4.
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Stanton led off the top of the eight with a double, followed by singles by Martin Prado and Michael Morse to load the bases. But as has been the case all season, the Marlins bats couldn’t capitalize on the prime chance to tie the game or even take the lead. Back-to-back sacrifice flies by Ozuna and Realmuto brought the Marlins to within a run, but Hechavarria struck out swinging to end the inning.
Pinch hitter Reid Brignac led off the ninth with a walk, but once again the Marlins failed to take advantage. Inexplicably, the Marlins hottest hitter Dee Gordon bunted Brignac over to second instead of swinging away with no outs and a man on first. This makes no sense because:
- Most everyone on the Marlins roster not named Dee Gordon seem to be swinging pool noodles instead of baseball bats right now.
- Even if Gordon grounds out, the odds of the Mets turning a successful double play are almost zero with his speed. Gordon could then have tried to steal second, and if he succeeded, would have been standing on second with one out, which effectively would’ve created the same outcome as a sacrifice bunt. And that’s the worst case scenario.
Yelich and Stanton then grounded out, in order, to end the game. For the third night in a row, the wind was yanked from the Marlins’ sails in the late innings when they were on the verge of a comeback. And for the first time ever at Citi Field, the Marlins were swept in a four game set.
Look, the Marlins are really bad right now. The rotation, without Henderson Alvarez and Jose Fernandez, has not been as good as advertised. The bullpen has been taxed, and as a result have had some very bad nights. Sunday the bullpen didn’t give up a run, but Koehler’s awful start was too much to bounce back from.
A bad start to the season is not impossible to recover from, but it’s going to be create quite the hill to climb down the stretch. At 3-10, the Marlins have the second-worst record in baseball, and would have to go 78-71 the rest of the season just to finish .500. Plenty of pundits pegged the Marlins as a playoff sleeper, and the computer projections saw them as right around a .500 club. Right now, it looks like everyone was wrong. Obviously the Marlins won’t be this bad all season; they’re on pace to win just 37 games. But unless something changes very soon, they won’t land anywhere near the postseason when all is said and done.
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