PHOENIX -- Elieser Hernandez excelled in the first three starts of his career, but in Friday night's 9-1 loss to the D-backs at Chase Field, the rookie right-hander learned a tough lesson."It's a scenario where I'm pitching in the Major Leagues and these guys don't miss when you make a
PHOENIX -- Elieser Hernandez excelled in the first three starts of his career, but in Friday night's 9-1 loss to the D-backs at Chase Field, the rookie right-hander learned a tough lesson.
"It's a scenario where I'm pitching in the Major Leagues and these guys don't miss when you make a mistake," Hernandez said through an interpreter, adding that he made "many" mistakes in Friday's outing.
The 23-year-old Hernandez allowed five runs on five hits -- including three home runs -- and lasted just three innings. He walked a pair and struck out one.
"Tonight was the first time I've really seen him lack command," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
It showed. Hernandez never established any sort of rhythm.
He walked the leadoff man in the bottom of the first inning and eventually gave up an RBI single. From there, it went downhill.
Daniel Descalso launched a two-run homer in the second inning. Jake Lamb hit a leadoff homer to begin the third before David Peralta smacked one of his own in the same frame.
Hernandez left the pitch to Descalso near the middle of the zone. To Lamb, it was on the outer half. Peralta hit a pitch that was left up. All mistakes.
"I didn't have control of my pitches and I just tried to compete with what I had," Hernandez said.
Friday night was a stark difference to Hernandez's other outings. He tossed five innings of one-run baseball in each of his first two starts, and then allowed just two runs over five innings his last time out.
When his latest appearance ended, the Marlins trailed 5-0. They weren't able to stop the bleeding, either.
Jarlin Garcia entered and gave up two more home runs. Miami trailed, 8-0, an insurmountable deficit on this night.
The rough appearance was the continuation of a cruel trend for Garcia. After surrendering two homers in all of April, he's allowed 11 since May 1.
"We do feel like he's giving some pitches," Mattingly said. "[The opponents] have a pretty good idea of what's coming, we think, at times. It's been an issue that we've tried to work on, and we've not resolved that yet."
The D-backs homered six times, tying a franchise record. Miami mustered just one run on its eight hits. The Marlins are now 20-27, losers of seven of their past eight games.
Miami has dealt with growing pains all season. On Friday, its rookie starting pitcher had some of his own.
"I think the exciting thing for Elieser is, how is he going to bounce back?" Mattingly said. "The next start, how's he going to look, how's he going to respond to the first outing where he got hit around a bit and really wasn't what we look at as his normal self?"
The young righty will need to answer that himself moving forward.
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
The Marlins scored in the seventh inning. Later in the frame, they had the bases loaded with the top of the order coming up. It was a prime opportunity to further trim the seven-run deficit. However, Starlin Castro popped up to second base and John Holaday struck out.
When Hernandez debuted for Miami on May 16 against the Dodgers, he became the first Marlins Rule 5 selection to appear as a starting pitcher in franchise history. Before Friday, he had walked just one batter over 15 innings. His 0.60 walks per nine innings pitched ratio is the fifth-lowest over a pitcher's first three career starts.
HE SAID IT
"Yesterday felt flat. Today, I felt like it was a byproduct of not being able to stop [the D-backs]. I felt a lot better energy today than I did yesterday. It's just that we get behind early and it doesn't stop. It's not like we were able to stop the bleeding and have a chance to get back in the game. It just kept getting away from us and we really couldn't stop them those first four or five innings." -- Mattingly, on the Marlins' energy
The Marlins will send Caleb Smith to the mound for Game 2 of a three-game series against the D-backs. Last time out in San Diego, Smith went into the eighth inning for the first time in his career. In his past two starts, he's allowed two runs in 13 2/3 innings, striking out 12 batters. The Marlins will face Zack Greinke, who maintains a 3.65 ERA but hasn't notched a win in a start since April 30. First pitch at Chase Field is set for 10:10 p.m. ET.
Justin Toscano is a reporter for MLB.com.