Getting back to basics after sweep
PHILADELPHIA — Swept away at Washington, the Marlins are focused now getting back to their brand of baseball at Philadelphia.
Miami has the right guy on the mound in its quest to turn things around.
Jose Fernandez gets the start on Friday night against the Phillies, who are going with A.J. Burnett.
Fernandez’s first MLB win came last year at Citizens Bank Park.
Miami maintains its a different team this year. It is, despite the poor showing at Nationals Park.
But this is the first wave of adversity the club has experienced. The Marlins, after all, enjoyed a strong Spring Training, where the players bonded and bought into the system.
Then, in their first homestand, the Marlins went 5-2 and showed signs of promise. But they’ve now dropped four straight, and are 5-5.
If they can take two of three at Philly, they’d come home on Monday above .500 and not in bad shape.
Reliever Mike Dunn says there is no reason for the club to get too down after a brief slump.
“We’ve got to get back to our baseball, errorless baseball,” Dunn said. “Do what we can do, and not anything more. We really just have to stay focused. We had a good spring together as a team, and a good start. We know the guy behind us has our back.
“It’s just grinding it out. There is a lot of baseball to be played. You can’t let it loom on you. You can’t let a cloud hang over you. You’ve got to let it go.”
The Marlins struggled on the road a year ago, and again they are tested. The Nationals also were red hot in the series, coming up with clutch hits, and playing with immense confidence.
“Really, we have to put this series behind us and move on,” Dunn said. “We’re going to play these guys 16 more times. Yeah, you want to get some wins on them, but it’s still early. It’s not September. There is no reason to be like, ‘Oh my gosh, we lost three in a row!’ Put it behind us, we’ve got a new series starting [Friday].”
* Manager Mike Redmond had to make a tough call on Thursday afternoon — pitch closer Steve Cishek in the eighth inning with his team down a run, or hold him for a possible save situation in the ninth?
Cishek, who hasn’t pitched in a week, could have entered with Miami down 2-1, and hoped to keep the score there. If the Marlins did rally to tie it or take the lead in the ninth, then they could have figured out another closer option.
Redmond said he didn’t want to use Cishek for two innings. So rather than pitch his closer, Arquimedes Caminero worked the eighth. Caminero was effective the night before in one-plus innings. But the Nationals posted five runs off him, including Ian Desmond’s grand slam.
The game turned from 2-1 to a blowout.
* Jose Fernandez threw 108 pitches in his last start, one shy of his career high. The Marlins pushed him a little more in his win over the Padres, knowing (because of an off-day on Monday) he would get an extra day of rest for his start on Friday.
Don’t expect Fernandez to top 110 pitches this year. If he does, it won’t be by much.
Last year, when Fernandez pitched on five-days rest (or an extra day), he was 5-3 with a 2.75 ERA.
* Top prospect Andrew Heaney enjoyed a strong performance on Thursday in Double-A Jacksonville’s win over Birmingham. The lefty struck out eight in six scoreless innings. He walked one and allowed four hits.
— Joe Frisaro