Miami Marlins lefty Caleb Smith suffered his first loss of the season as the lefty was chased after 5.1 innings in a 4-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Tampa Bay Rays figured out how to get to the 27-year-old early and often, not by running up the score, but rather keeping the Marlins ace on the mound, having him rack up pitch counts and sending him to the showers early in a 4-0 loss on Tuesday night.
For those of you playing at home, that marked the eighth time this season the Marlins have been shutout, further magnifying the situation in South Florida as a dire need for hitting and producing runs.
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"“… the Rays methodically chipped away at the left-hander, repeatedly fouling off pitch after pitch,” Joe Frisaro of MLB.com wrote. “By the time Smith was lifted after 5 1/3 innings and 106 pitches, Tampa Bay had amassed 35 foul balls, the most surrendered by any pitcher in the Majors this season.”"
Smith was still dominant on the mound, allowing just two runs on four hits. The second-inning home run by Avisail Garcia and his two RBI singles were the difference in the game. If other MLB teams follow suit and figure out how to retire Smith earlier in games, the Marlins coaching staff may encounter a whole new set of problems.
"“They had good at-bats,” Smith said. “Fouled pitches off and did their job. Got me out of the game kind of early.”"
Now the questions will persist. The Marlins made a change to their coaching staff when the fired hitting coach Mike Pagliarulo, but the team has not improved at the dish. Pitching performances are being wasted as the team continues to struggle.
Are there more moves on the horizon for the coaching staff? When does this become an issue where manager Don Mattingly’s seat becomes a bit warmer? Does the front office have plans to make more moves to the roster, which could mean moving someone like Austin Dean from Triple-A New Orleans to the parent club?
This was Smith’s sixth start with at least eight strikeouts. His ERA “jumped” to 2.25 for the season. It was a night where the team’s No. 5 starter created some history with the number of foul balls that were thrown.
"Per Frisaro, “As Smith was compiling strikeouts, the Rays were inflicting paper cuts by fouling off so many pitches. The 35 foul balls topped the 33 the White Sox hit off Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello on May 5.”"