It’s been a rough go for the Miami Marlins the past two nights. The Fish have experienced limited success against Chicago starters, but none against relievers.
Somebody feed these fellas. The Miami Marlins players haven’t been able to eat their lunch since arriving in Chicago early Monday morning. Meanwhile, the Chicago Cubs bullpen is getting all fat and giggly with the success they’ve been having.
In two games, the Marlins have scored all of their runs against the starting pitcher. The first night they tagged Eddie Butler for one run before manager Joe Maddon gave him the quick hook. Last night, they managed to put up two against Cy Young award winner Jake Arrieta.
Once Butler and Arrieta came out of the game, the Fish closed up shop. There was no more wood-work to be had for the rest of the night.
On consecutive nights, the Marlins haven’t been able to put up the kind of runs necessary to help themselves win a game. Even in Tuesdays game, the result wasn’t at hand until a poor outing by Brian Ellington in the seventh inning.
The score was close prior to that, and the Marlins appeared to be fit for a rally. They trailed by two runs, and had six outs remaining in the game. Ellington promptly allowed six earned runs, and the deficit swelled to eight. Demoralized, the Marlins would manage only one hit the rest of the game.
To say the Fish have “chased” any of the starting pitchers in this series would be a stretch. Maddon has been quick to pull his starters out of the game when even the slightest hint of trouble arises. After pulling Butler in the fifth inning while he held a lead, Arrieta was pulled at exactly the 100 pitch mark.
Not a welcomed sight
Once the starters have come out of the game, the Fish have turned to chum. On Monday, left-hander Mike Montgomery pitched 3.1 innings and allowed only three hits. He earned save, and kept the Cubs bullpen fresh and ready for the following night.
Arrieta threw six innings and allowed the Marlins only two runs. Maddon then asked his bullpen to take the game the rest of the way. Pedro Strop, Justin Grimm, and Hector Rondon combined to deliver three scoreless innings.
That brings the total to 6.1 innings of scoreless, four hit baseball allowed by the Cubs bullpen this series. They’ve struck out seven Marlins, and walked only one. Dominance any way you look at it.
If the Marlins are going to win tonights game, they’ll need to get to starter John Lackey early; think first or second inning. Too early for Joe Maddon to conceivably pull him out of the game. Urena will have to stymie the Cubs bats, and the Marlins bullpen will have to do their best Cubs impression.
It isn’t a complicated formula, and one the Marlins are capable of delivering.
The Cubs bullpen has dominated the Marlins lineup this series. The key to salvaging this series for the Fish will be to jump on the starting pitcher. If they can do that, they’ll either force Joe Maddon’s hand, or walk out of Wrigley with a win. Or both.