Marlins suffer blowout loss amid playoff push

September 23rd, 2023

MIAMI -- Marlins fans have waited 20 years for a chance to visit the ballpark with postseason baseball on the line.

That’s why you couldn’t blame them for their reaction to Miami’s showing in the Marlins’ 16-1 loss to the playoff-bound Brewers on Friday night at loanDepot park. The boos began about a handful of runs into Milwaukee’s 12-run second, then evolved into a Bronx cheer by the final out of the disastrous inning.

  • Games remaining: vs. MIL (2), at NYM (3), at PIT (3)
  • Standings update: The Marlins (79-75) dropped to a game back of the Cubs (80-74) for the third NL Wild Card spot, and remained a half-game ahead of the Reds (79-76), who lost to the Pirates. Miami holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Chicago, having taken four of six in the season series. Miami tied the season series (3-3) with Cincinnati, but the Marlins (25-24 against the NL East) hold the second tiebreaker -- intradivisional record -- over the Reds (19-28 against the NL Central).

All-Star second baseman Luis Arraez (left ankle sprain) and third baseman Jake Burger (right quad tightness) returned to Miami’s lineup, but they were taken out of the game after just one at-bat due to the lopsided score. Jon Berti, meanwhile, kept the Marlins from being shut out with a leadoff homer in the eighth inning.

“It wasn't a good game,” manager Skip Schumaker said. “It's tough to find a couple of positives when you're in that game. I think everybody just wants to eat and get the hell out of here and come back tomorrow and do the best they can to flush it and try to win the game tomorrow.”

JT Chargois and Steven Okert combined for four outs and five walks to open a bullpen game before bulk arm Bryan Hoeing took over. He allowed eight of his first 10 batters faced to reach, as the Brewers sent 15 to the plate in the second. To add salt to the wound, former Marlin Christian Yelich capped the outburst with a two-run opposite-field homer after a week-long absence due to back tightness. He added a three-run shot in the sixth.

The 12 runs permitted in the second are the second most in franchise history, behind the infamous 14-run first on June 27, 2003, in Boston.

Since electing to go with a six-man rotation featuring two openers on Aug. 27, Miami’s bullpen has thrown the most innings (112 2/3) in MLB.

“It's very frustrating, because coming into this game, we know that every single game is important for us,” Hoeing said. “When you give up 12 runs in the second inning, it gives us basically no chance to come back and win. We're following along. We know the teams we need to stay with, and basically all these games are win-out for us. And it's just frustrating, because I know everybody's worked so hard for this, and we came to this point in the season -- and to have an outing like that, I feel like I let the team down a little bit.”

Schumaker was disappointed by the Marlins’ sloppy play during the midweek series against the Mets, during which they committed six errors and made some baserunning mistakes in dropping two of three. Things started out promising on Friday, as Arraez and Nick Fortes combined for a trio of nice defensive plays in a scoreless first.

But that quickly changed in the second. With Milwaukee already up 6-0 with just one out, Sal Frelick hit a single to shallow center field, where Jazz Chisholm Jr. scooped up the ball and fired home. The throw beat Mark Canha, but Fortes didn't get the tag down. Fortes' throw to second then beat Frelick, but Arraez dropped the ball. When Willy Adames followed with a single to right, the runner at second didn't score on the play despite Jesús Sánchez booting the ball. And on Josh Donaldson's ensuing run-scoring grounder to short, Adames went from first to third when he noticed third base was left unoccupied.

Outcomes like Friday night happen over the course of the season, but it gets magnified with just eight games left on the schedule. Miami’s final regular-season home series won’t get any easier, with right-handers Brandon Woodruff (1.89 ERA) and Freddy Peralta (3.71 ERA) scheduled to start the other two games this weekend. The Marlins faced that pair last week in Milwaukee, where they scored a combined five runs in four games.

“It's tough to see, but we all know what it is,” Chisholm said. “We already talked, and we already know, ‘Hey, we come back in tomorrow, and we get back to what we normally do, which is play hard baseball and have fun out there.’”