Los Angeles—All seemed well in Miami’s world on Saturday afternoon. Their young phenom gave them 6 shutout innings and their 3-headed monster of Andrew Nardi, Tanner Scott, and David Robertson was ready to go. Unfortunately for Miami, disaster struck in the bottom of the 8th and the Dodgers stole Game 1 of Saturday’s day/night doubleheader in Los Angeles.
Eury Day in LA
The last time Eury Pérez toed the rubber at Dodger Stadium, it was as a representative of the National League in the 2022 MLB Futures Game. At the time, Pérez was ranked as the #1 prospect in the Marlins system and the #16 prospect in all of Major League Baseball.
“I felt really comfortable because I already knew the stadium and it was nice to remember that special moment” said Pérez in Spanish.
He’s since graduated from prospect eligibility and blossomed into one of baseball’s most exciting rookies. Heading into his start on Saturday against the Dodgers, Pérez had made 13 starts in his rookie campaign, going 5-4 with a 3.19 ERA and 10.6 K/9. He had struggled in his two starts since being recalled on August 7, allowing 8 ER in 8.2 IP.
Those struggles ended abruptly as he tossed arguably the best start 0f his career in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader. The 20-year-old went six shutout innings, allowed two hits, no runs, no walks, and struck out a career-high ten batters. He threw 90 pitches, 60 of them for strikes.
“Against an offense like this, yeah, best I’ve seen his stuff” said manager Skip Schumaker postgame.
He threw his changeup only seven times and relied heavily on his fastball and slider which generated 15 of his 22 whiffs. His fastball ranged from 96.7-99.7 mph. Overall, the velocity on that pitch was up for Pérez in this one, averaging 98.2 mph.
“It’s something that we’re working on, with that pitch specifically. When it’s not working as well, we throw it less. Luckily the fastball and slider were.”
Bottom of the 8th
After Nardi pitched a perfect seventh, usual closer David Robertson got the 8th.
“We planned before the game that he was going to get that part of the order and we’re going to have (Tanner) Scott get the top of the lineup. It didn’t matter if it was the eighth or ninth.”
A one-out walk to James Outman began the downturn for Robertson, and Enrique Hernández followed with a sharp single up the middle. With runners on the corners and one out, Austin Barnes was called to put down a safety squeeze, which was executed perfectly and scored Outman. First baseman Josh Bell threw it to the backstop which allowed Hernández and Barnes to move up.
“It’s tough to defend that safety squeeze with a guy on first base. Barnes put down a perfect bunt, executed perfectly. Guy with speed on third base made it even tougher to defend” said Skip.
MVP candidate Mookie Betts put the nail in the coffin with a two-run single to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead and handed Robertson his second loss as a Marlin.
“Things went wrong when you got a runner on first and then they just kept coming around and everybody kept scoring” said Robertson postgame to reporters. “I’m throwing the ball as well as I can throw it. That’s me. Nothing I can do about it, you get beat sometimes. Those guys get paid a lot of money to hit the ball and have good at-bats.”
Robertson has been inconsistent since coming over to Miami in a three-player trade with the New York Mets, as he’s allowed seven ER in eight innings pitched as a Marlin.
Miami fell to 64-60 while the Dodgers improved to 75-47. Pérez got the no-decision and Ryan Yarbrough earned the win for Los Angeles. Evan Phillips set the Marlins down in order in the 9th to earn his 19th save.
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images