Lindstrom dealing with adversity

No one can accuse Matt Lindstrom of ducking the issues.

After he allowed four straight singles with two outs and no one on in the ninth inning on Tuesday, the Marlins closer was sitting at his locker waiting for reporters.

The hard-throwing right-hander has been a standup player from the time he joined the Marlins in 2007. Right now, he’s going through a difficult stretch.

In the month of June, Lindstrom’s ERA is 7.56 — seven earned runs in 8 1/3 innings. While the Marlins beat the Orioles, 7-6, in 12 innings on Tuesday, Lindstrom was upset at himself for not being able to record the final out in the ninth inning.

He entered with a three-run lead, but the Orioles did all their damage with two outs. Manager Fredi Gonzalez replaced Lindstrom with Brian Sanches with a runner on third. Sanches was seeking his first MLB save, but he allowed the game-tying single, setting up extra innings.

“It’s difficult to get that 27th out,” Gonzalez said. “We’re going to keep running [Lindstrom] out there.”

Having a bad outing or two is nothing new to anyone in the big leagues. On Sunday, Lindstrom faced a similar situation in a 6-5 win over the Yankees. He recorded two quick outs to New York, and then gave up two runs, before working out of the jam, stranding a runner at third.

“It’s a tough growing process, that’s for sure, especially when you get the first two outs like that,” Lindstrom said.

Typically, when a player struggles as much as Lindstrom, it makes one wonder if he is healthy. Thus far, no one has said Lindstrom is not, and his velocity was at 98 mph on Tuesday. Still, he had no command of his offspeed pitches, and threw a number of four-seam fastballs, which are less stressful to his arm. 

It doesn’t take hitters long to realize that only fastballs are coming.

Lindstrom has appeared in 32 games this year, and he’s 2-1 with a 6.52 ERA. He is 14 of 16 in save chances. He didn’t get the missed save on Tuesday, that went to Sanches.

In Spring Training, Lindstrom dealt with a rotator cuff strain at the World Baseball Classic, and he missed almost all of the preseason games.

The Marlins bullpen already is dealing with some injury issues. Kiko Calero is on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. On Wednesday afternoon, he was throwing catch on flat ground with Anibal Sanchez, who is on the DL with a shoulder injury.

And Leo Nunez, a fallback closer option, has an injury concern. Nunez left Tuesday’s game after facing two batters in the eighth inning due to a sprained right ankle. He is day-to-day.

If Lindstrom is indeed feeling some discomfort, the Marlins bullpen be even more shorthanded.

A possible option in the Minor Leagues is right-hander Rick VandenHurk, who is in the rotation for Triple-A New Orleans.

– Joe Frisaro  

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