Miami Marlins Bullpen Implodes in Ninth Inning
The Miami Marlins handed it to the Toronto Blue Jays for eight innings on Friday night. The ninth inning was a different story.
With a 5-1 lead going into the ninth inning, the Miami Marlins called on Kyle Barraclough to shut the Jays down in a non-save situation. Kendrys Morales greeted him with a single into center field, then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Randel Grichuk followed with a walk, then Barraclough struck out Kevin Pillar. It looked like everything would be all right for a moment there, then Danny Jensen singled up the middle to Starlin Castro. Castro fielded it, but couldn’t get the ball to double-play partner JT Riddle.
The Marlins brought out new closer Drew Steckenrider with the bases loaded to bail Barraclough out of trouble, and it started out ok. Steckenrider caught Aledmys Diaz looking at strike three. He then walked Devon Travis to force in Morales and make the score 5-2.
The Jays called on Justin Smoak to pinch hit for Joe Biagini. Smoak swung and missed a slider, then watched a 95 MPH fastball blow by him high in the zone. After asking the umpire where the ball was, Smoak clobbered Steckenrider’s 13th pitch of the inning for a grand slam into right field. The Marlins couldn’t answer the bell in the bottom of the ninth, and any dreams of a .500 season died a final death, dropping the Fish to 53-82.
Dan Straily pitched himself a great game, easily outdueling opposing starter Aaron Sanchez. Straily struck out four and allowed one run on four hits and a walk over eight frames. He earned a 79 GameScore and placed 72-of-104 pitches in the strike zone. I understand the decision to relieve him so late in the game, but I wonder if Don Mattingly wishes he could have that one back. Sanchez gave up five runs on eight hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings, earning a 31 GameScore.
In the fourth inning, the Miami Marlins sent eight men to the plate, scoring three runs on four hits. Brian Anderson opened the inning with a double, then moved to third on a J.T. Realmuto groundout. Derek Dietrich opened the scoring by driving Anderson home with a single into right field. Starlin Castro singled on the next pitch into left field. With runners on first and second, Riddle singled home Dietrich, then Castro scored on an Austin Dean groundout to make it 3-0, Marlins.
In the fifth, the Marlins sent seven men to the plate, scoring two more runs on four hits. Anderson hit his second double in as many innings after a Rafael Ortega groundout to open the inning. He then scored on a Realmuto single. After another Dietrich single, Castro brought home Realmuto with his third hit of the game.
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Ends and Odds
- Curtis Granderson, in his last Blue Jays appearance, scored on a Lourdes Gurriel sacrifice fly in the sixth to get Toronto on the board. Granderson was reportedly traded to the Milwaukee Brewers after the game.
- Castro’s three-hit game was his ninth of the season for the Miami Marlins, and his 42nd multi-hit affair.
- Straily’s Quality Start was his ninth of the season for the Marlins. His 79 GameScore tied for the highest mark of his career. He also finished with that score on April 5th, 2013, after striking out seven and allowing two hits and a walk over seven inning for the Oakland Athletics. The A’s won that one, 2-1 over the Houston Astros.
- Anderson’s two-hit game matched Castro for a team-leading 42nd multi-hit game. He reached base four times in total, going two-for-three with a pair of walks.
- Dietrich collected two hits for his 31st multi-hit game of the season. He’s arguably putting up the best season of his career, with a career-high 16 home runs and a National League leading 18 HBP.
The two clubs will face off again tomorrow at 7:10PM EDT. Wei-Yin Chen (5-9, 4.91), will take on Marco Estrada (7-10, 5.18).
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