A common theme through the first two months of the season has been the Miami Marlins racking up hits without being able to drive them home. But Tuesday’s series opener against the San Diego Padres may have been the most frustrating.
The Marlins recorded ten hits and were walked eight times. They loaded the bases twice. And yet, they mustered four runs.
The latter of the bases-loaded situation was in the bottom of the sixth. Bryan De La Cruz drove in one run on a single, while each runner advanced one base each. Jorge Soler, who came into the game having hit six home runs in his last eight games while posting a .361 batting average, struck out. Luis Arraez then uncharacteristically grounded into an inning-ending double play (his second of the night). Arraez had grounded into just seven double plays coming into Tuesday.
The following inning Soler came to bat once again, tied at 4-4 with runners at first and second. He grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Overall the Marlins – who lead the majors with 59 double plays – went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left 11 runners on base.
The Marlins took the initial lead in the third inning when De La Cruz scored on a Garrett Cooper single. De La Cruz, starting at leadoff for the first time in his Major League career, then hit a two-run home run to give Miami a 3-1 lead in the fourth.
“In baseball, you always have highs and lows,” De La Cruz said via a translator. “And you’ve got to take advantage of those opportunities. I think we’re playing well. But between those highs and lows, I think today was one of those lows. We’ve got to take that positive from today’s game and try to bring it back tomorrow.”
The Marlins came into Tuesday averaging the fourth-lowest runs per game in the majors (3.76) despite having the ninth-best batting average in the league (.258).
Marlins starting pitcher Sandy Alcantara was cruising through six innings, having thrown less than 80 pitches thanks to a couple of 1-2-3 innings.
Entering the seventh with a 4-2 lead, Alcantara walked the first two batters of the inning and allowed a Fernando Tatis Jr. RBI-single before being relieved by left-hander Tanner Scott. The Padres went 1-for-7 with two walks their third time against Alcantara.
Maybe it was the long west coast road trip with zero call-ups to help the bullpen, or maybe it was just the inevitable result of being without their shutdown closer in A.J. Puk, but Tuesday was the night the bullpen collapsed, beginning with Scott and his inherited runners at first and second base.
Scott allowed an RBI single to Juan Soto to tie the game at 4-4, but got out of the inning after striking out Xander Bogaerts and Rougned Odor.
JT Chargois and Andrew Nardi combined for a shutout eighth inning.
Dylan Floro, who had been extremely effective in his eighth inning role before Puk went on the injured list on May 14, gave up five runs in the ninth inning to essentially put the nail in the coffin of a possible comeback. Only three of those runs were earned, however.
After Tatis walked to begin the ninth, he stole second base and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Nick Fortes, who had just entered as a defensive replacement. After intentionally walking Juan Soto, Xander Bogaerts drove home Soto to take the lead.
But the defensive miscues didn’t end there. With runners at the corners in the next at-bat, Rougned Odor hit a ground ball to shortstop Jon Berti. Berti threw home in an attempt to throw out Soto, but fired the throw wide right. The Padres put up three more runs on a Matt Carpenter two-RBI double and a Ha-Seong Kim RBI single.
Lefties Blake Snell and Braxton Garrett are the probable starters for Wednesday’s game (6:40 p.m. first pitch).