Saves that have slipped away

NEW YORK — When you are going through a collective slump like the Marlins are, there is plenty of blame to spread around. The offense has struggled to score. The rotation has been hobbled with three Opening Day starters on the disabled list.

Then, there is the bullpen. Granted, it has been overused. But it also has let a number of late-leads slip away. The most recent missed chance came on Wednesday, when the Pirates rallied with two outs and no one on in the seventh inning to score five runs. Miami’s two-run lead was erased in a 5-2 loss at PNC Park.

With each loss comes more scrutiny.

Again, we can dissect all parts of the club. We can question (and many are) if Dan Jennings is the right choice to manage. Well the bottom line is simple, it doesn’t matter who is calling the shots if late-inning leads aren’t preserved.

To stay on point with the bullpen, these are games in the late innings where Miami had a lead, only to either lose or have to rally.

In the last two road trips alone, four blown saves resulted in four losses. Three came during their 10-game swing, with one at Washington, one at San Francisco and the final one at the Dodgers. Say Miami wins three or all four of those? Suddenly a 18-30 record is either 21-27 or 22-26 mark. Either way, that’s much more manageable when you’re striving to get to .500 by the All-Star Break.

For the season, the Marlins have an MLB-low five saves — Steve Cishek (three) and A.J. Ramos (two).

The Marlins are 5-for-14 in save opportunities. Their save percentage of 35.7 is the lowest in the Majors. Their nine blown saves are second only to the D-backs’ 10.

Cishek, who converted three of seven chances, still has the most blown saves in the Majors.

I noted recently that if Miami is to get back into the mix, pitching will have to lead the way. The starters must go deep into games. But clearly, when there are late-leads, the bullpen must do its part to lock down potential wins.

Joe Frisaro

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