Miami Marlins Weaknesses Exposed in Walkoff Loss to Nationals

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 18: Lewis Brinson #9 of the Miami Marlins hits a ninth inning double against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on August 18, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - AUGUST 18: Lewis Brinson #9 of the Miami Marlins hits a ninth inning double against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on August 18, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /
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The Marlins lost to the Nats, 7-6 on Friday night.

The Miami Marlins fought gamely against the Washington Nationals on Friday night, but ultimately came up short after a walk-off Anthony Rendon two-run single with one out in the ninth.

Since joining the Miami Marlins, would-be closer Ryne Stanek has had a bit of a cold stretch. He’s given up 11 hits and 10 walks in only nine innings of work, racking up a 2.333 WHIP, an 8.66 FIP, and an ERA+ of just 56. That’s in start contrast to his body of work with the Tampa Bay Rays, for whom he struck out 61 and held opponents to a 1.150 WHIP over 55 2/3 innings.

Called on last night to close out the Nationals, Kendrick instead opened the inning with a Howie Kendrick single and a Trea Turner walk before getting Gerardo Parra on a failed sacrifice bunt attempt. Kendrick and Turner moved to second and third, respectively, on a wild pitch before Stanek surrendered the death stroke. Stanek’s performance was worth minus-.800 WPA, negating Starlin Castro‘s .682 and Harold Ramirez‘ .329.

Miami Marlins
ATLANTA, GEORGIA – AUGUST 22: Ryne Stanek #35 of the Miami Marlins pitches int he eighth inning against the Miami Marlins at SunTrust Park on August 22, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images) /

Maybe serendipitously, in an evil alternate universe maybe, Nationals reliever Fernando Rodney pitched a perfect eighth, striking out two. I still get mad over the trade that made Rodney a Marlin, and it’s not reactionary – I was mad the moment it was announced. His performance afterward was dreadful, Stanek-like, even, and Chris Paddack has gone on to great things for the San Diego Padres. Just one more reason to hate Jeffrey Loria, as if we needed one – but I digress.

Another glaring weakness of the Miami Marlins continues to be Lewis Brinson‘s seemingly permanent cold-streak. Brinson struck out in the second on a likely failed-hit-and-run – Jorge Alfaro stole second on his swing-and-miss strike three. A leadoff ground-rule double in the fourth was a welcome development, but Brinson later grounded into an inning-ending, bases-loaded double play in the seventh which could have busted the game wide open, but instead just threw cold water on the would-be rally.

In 52 games this year at the major league level, Brinson is hitting .189/.234/.256, with zero home runs, only six walks, and 55 strikeouts. Four errors in 407 1/3 innings in center field gives him a .968 fielding percentage, 16 points below the National League average. It’s becoming difficult to explain, and even more difficult to believe that Brinson’s performance is an outlier, and that somehow, he really is a great player. His .189 batting average matches his career figure (now 182 games of data), and his fielding percentage is the same as last season, when he “led” the major leagues with nine errors in center.

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Stanek and Brinson’s performances took a lot of the gloss off of the heroics of Ramirez and Castro, both of whom collected three hits in the game. That includes Castro’s ninth-inning bomb, his 15th of the season. The shot gave the Miami Marlins a 6-5 lead and a likely win against the hated Nationals. Instead, we in TV-land had to endure yet another walk-off celebration of the other team. Ramirez’ ninth homer came earlier in the game, to give the Marlins a 1-0 lead in the first.

We’ll do the same thing tonight and expect different results. I know, that’s the definition of madness, but sometimes, following these Marlins seems insane. Good thing I’m a Marlin Maniac!

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