After a small rain delay, the Miami Marlins entered Game 2 of an important three-game set against the division rival Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday looking for a big series victory.
The Phillies starter for Saturday’s game was a familiar face. Aaron Nola entered the game with a career 5-10 record with a 3.43 ERA in 22 starts against the Fish. Despite keeping Miami silent for the first four innings of work with an early 5-0 lead, Nola ran out of gas in the fifth, giving up four earned runs and coming out with a line of 4.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, and 6 K’s.
Nola shared the rubber with Marlins starter Johnny Cueto, who has had a lackluster first season with Miami to this point. Miami was looking for someone to step up due to the recent injury to ace Sandy Alcantara. Cueto was not up to the task.
Things suddenly spiraled out of control for Cueto with two outs in the second. He allowed runs on a two-run double from Nick Castellanos and a three-run bomb from Kyle Schwarber. He allowed six consecutive baserunners and needed 50 pitches overall to complete the inning, the most pitches thrown by any big leaguer in any inning this season.
Cueto was able to stop the bleeding and came out in the fourth with a final line of 3.2 IP, 5 hits, 5 ER, 3BB, and 3 k’s.
Coming in relief for Cueto and making his Major League debut was Enmanuel De Jesus. De Jesus was called up on Friday to take up the spot of the recently DFA’d Devin Smeltzer. His numbers this year in the minors in 18 games were 5-5 with a 4.86 ERA, in 87 innings of work. The first batter De Jesus faced in his debut was Kyle Schwarber, getting him to roll over to first.
In the top of the fifth, the Marlins made things interesting. They were finally able to get some good swings off against Nola, starting with a solo shot by Garrett Hampson and continuing with back-to-back doubles from Xavier Edwards and Jacob Stallings to make it a 5-2 game. Then a single from Luis Arraez set up Josh Bell for an RBI double to make it a 5-3 ballgame and kick Nola out of the game. Jake Burger was then able to bring in the fourth run of the inning due to a deep sac fly off reliever Jeff Hoffman.
However, the Phillies answered quickly with three runs of their own against De Jesus. Trea Turner and Bryce Harper recorded singles. De Jesus was then able to get his first major league strikeout against Alec Bohm, but he proceeded to hit Bryson Stott with a pitch to load up the bases for Brandon Marsh. Marsh won his battle with the lefty and hit a two-out, base-clearing double, making it a 8-4 Philadelphia lead.
The Phillies bullpen was just too much for the Marlins hitters—four arms coming out of their ‘pen combined for 4.2 IP, 3 H, and 6 K’s.
Miami ends up taking a 8-4 loss in Saturday’s game. On a positive note, Hampson finished the night 3-for-4 and raised his season batting average to .290. Also, De Jesus stayed in the game after his initial struggles providing much-needed length out of the bullpen (4.1 IP, 2 H,3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K’s) and saving all of the remaining arms to used during Sunday’s series finale. Steven Okert will serve as the opener for that bullpen day.
Miami’s record now moves to 73-69. With the Diamondbacks beating the Cubs again today, Miami drops back down to 1.5 games behind Arizona. However, they are still in a good spot with the Reds losing another game to the Cardinals and having a chance on Sunday to take the season series from the reigning NL champs.
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