Defensive lapses continue to haunt Marlins
WASHINGTON — On nights like Wednesday, you need a short memory if you’re the Miami Marlins.
Quickly forget all that went wrong — there was plenty — in your 10-7 loss to the Nationals, move forward and get ready for Stephen Strasburg in Thursday’s series finale.
The good teams can put adversity behind them. We’re about to find out where the Marlins’ stand. Will they rebound and salvage one of the three at Nationals Park? Or will they fall victim to what’s plagued them for much of the first 10-days of the season?
That’s making crucial defenses lapses and not executing when opportunities present themselves at crucial times.
What happened last night is the Marlins hit. They hammered out 14 hits, belted two home runs, built a big lead early. Showed resiliency by rebounding after surrendering the lead. They regained the lead in the eighth inning. And even in the ninth, off closer Rafael Soriano, they had two on and Christian Yelich at the plate.
Yelich was on base five times before grounding out to end it.
Of course there will be nights where the bats come alive. Like Wednesday. There will be nights where the pitchers struggle. Like Wednesday. There just can’t be nights where you commit three errors and hope to get away with it.
You can falter in one of the three areas — pitching, hitting, defense. You can’t get away with having breakdowns in two of them.
Reliever Dan Jennings made a costly error in the middle innings, when he was unable to handle a slow chopper to the mound. Had he fielded the ball cleanly, he had an out at the plate in front of him. Instead, a run scored.
And in the eighth inning, Derek Dietrich’s throwing error on Denard Span’s bunt put runners on second and third with one out. Had Dietrich held onto the ball, acknowledging Span had a bunt single, that could have changed the entire inning.
The Nationals would have had first and second and one out. At that point, Carlos Marmol would have pitched to Anthony Rendon, instead of intentionally walking him in hopes of loading the bases for a double play.
Jayson Werth ultimately had the bases full, and he promptly connected on a game-winning grand slam.
The error was big. The end result, though, is it gets overlooked, and what is noticed are four earned runs charged to Marmol.
* Why Marmol over A.J. Ramos? Ramos had pitched the night before, and obviously, he’s throwing the ball very well right now. But until Wednesday, Marmol had thrown four scoreless innings. Marmol was signed for such nights like Wednesday, to lock down the seventh or eighth innings.
Marmol got into trouble initially when his slider struck pinch-hitter Nate McLouth on the foot.
As Marmol noted, McLouth made no attempt to get out of the way. But no umpire is going to penalize the hitter in that situation. But had he tried to duck out of the way, the result would have been a ball, and not the tying run on base with one out. Big moment.
* Adeiny Hechavarria is becoming the talk of a number of league scouts. Many are very high on the Miami shortstop. The fact Hechavarria’s defense is solid isn’t surprising. But the 24-year-old is hitting. He’s batting .378 (14-for-37) with seven runs scored. It’s not just the batting average, it’s the approach and the improved swing, and his ability to hit the ball the other way.
* Yelich has raised his average to .290, and he paces the team with eight runs scored. Five times the 22-year-old got on base on Wednesday.
— Joe Frisaro