Nunez's new approach
Opponents have detected a pattern with Leo Nunez.
Scouting reports are out, and teams seem to be sitting on first-pitch fastballs. That was the case in the Marlins’ 5-4 loss to the Nationals on Sunday.
Nunez entered in the ninth inning trying to preserve a two-run lead. But the inning started off with Willie Harris teeing off on a first-pitch fastball. The end result was an upper-deck home run to right field.
Cristian Guzman followed with a first-pitch approach. The only pitch Guzman saw he swatted for an infield single. Ryan Zimmerman delivered a two-run, walk-off homer, but it came on Nunez’s third pitch.
On Sept. 2, Nunez also surrendered a home run on his first pitch of the ninth inning. That game, Yunel Escobar sat first-pitch fastball and connected.
“The last few games I feel like they’ve been timing up that first-pitch fastball,” Nunez said through a translater. “In these next games, I have in my mind to vary my pitches a little more.”
In July at San Diego, Kyle Blanks of the Padres opened the ninth inning by homering on Nunez’s first-pitch fastball.
“I feel like it’s been the last three games or so they’ve been jumping on that first pitch,” the Marlins closer said. “But I still have to come in there and challenge guys.”
— Joe Frisaro