MIAMI -- As trade speculation heats up, the Marlins have maintained a single-minded focus. No matter their sub-.500 record, Miami's mission is to make steady improvement, and keep coming together as a team.Still, Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline is a reality, and on Thursday night, scouts on hand watched three pitchers
MIAMI -- As trade speculation heats up, the Marlins have maintained a single-minded focus. No matter their sub-.500 record, Miami's mission is to make steady improvement, and keep coming together as a team.
Still, Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline is a reality, and on Thursday night, scouts on hand watched three pitchers who have been the subject of trade discussions. Dan Straily started and came as advertised for 5 2/3 innings. Brad Ziegler logged a big two-out groundout in the sixth inning. But lefty Adam Conley was tagged for three runs in one-third of an inning in the seventh, including a two-run triple by Trea Turner that rallied the Nationals to a 10-3 victory over Miami in the four-game series opener at Marlins Park.
About a dozen scouts -- including representatives from the Cubs, Dodgers and Indians -- were present to take note of the three pitchers. Of the trio, Ziegler, a free agent after the season, appears the most likely to be dealt by Tuesday.
"I thought Dan was fairly good early," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Those two runs in the fourth kind of got them back in the game. Zieg gets us out of the jam. ... I thought that was [a strong outing from] Dan."
Conley, who has been effective since moving from a starter to a reliever, endured a rough outing in Washington's three-run seventh. The southpaw put himself in a jam by walking Wilmer Difo to open the inning. Turner delivered his two-run triple, and Bryce Harper added an RBI double.
"A.C. had a rough one against those guys at their place, and bounced back and had a good one," Mattingly said of Conley. "He's been really good ever since. It was a little different outing today."
Conley, a second-round pick of the Marlins in 2011, is one of the top lefties on the trade market. He entered the night with a 2.63 ERA with 32 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings. Afterwards, he said he is monitoring the trade speculation, and ideally hopes to remain in Miami.
"Drafted here, signed here, developed here," Conley said. "I love being here. I love this organization, and I want to be here tomorrow, pitching for this team."
Turner finished with a home run, single, triple and three RBIs.
"The biggest thing comes down to us," Conley said of better containing Turner. "We're all talented enough to get him out. Nobody will tell you that hitting is easy. As hard as it is getting a hold of the ball, you've got to get it past the seven guys behind me. I think it's back to us getting ahead, getting ahead in counts."
Straily was staked to an early three-run lead, and surrendered solo home runs to Turner and rookie Juan Soto. The right-hander gave up three runs in 5 2/3 innings, and certainly didn't hurt his trade value. In five July starts, his ERA is 2.84.
Early on, it looked as if the Marlins were in for a big offensive night. They pushed three runs across on Tommy Milone in the first. J.T. Realmuto, who had three hits, laced an RBI double, Justin Bour lifted a sacrifice fly and Cameron Maybin collected a two-out, run-scoring single.
The Marlins held a 3-2 edge until two outs in the sixth inning, when Ryan Zimmerman's RBI double made it 3-3.
The Nationals have now won 15 of the last 16 games in head-to-head meetings with Miami.
"These guys have been tough on us, in general," Mattingly said. "I think there's always a club in there it seems like you don't match as well with, but we've had our chances."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
After scoring three runs in the first inning, the Marlins had a chance to pad their lead in the second inning. With two outs, Straily started a rally with a single. Starlin Castro doubled, putting runners on second and third. But Milone struck out Brian Anderson.
From there, the Marlins had a runner advance as far as second base only twice -- Realmuto doubled in the fifth and in the eighth he singled and moved to second on a groundout.
In his first two games since being called up from Triple-A New Orleans, 22-year-old outfielder Magneuris Sierra is 1-for-8. His first Marlins hit came in the fourth inning, when he reached on an infield single. Sierra is a promising speedster who should eventually get regular playing time.
HE SAID IT
"I check every day to see what's going on, but the main reason for me is that I've got a wife and three kids back home. Not that you can really plan, because you don't really know what's going to happen. But logistically, just for her sake, this job is very hard on her as well, from the time that I spend away and the time I spend at the park every day. We try to do what we can to come up with some type of vague plan if something did happen." -- Conley, on being part of trade rumors
Pablo Lopez comes off a strong start in Tampa Bay to face the Nationals on Friday at 7:10 p.m. ET at Marlins Park. Lopez draws a tough assignment, as reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer goes for Washington. On July 5, Lopez started the game at Washington in which Miami let a nine-run lead slip away.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.