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With few save chances, Cishek tries to stay loose

MLB.com

PHILADELPHIA -- For more than a week, Marlins closer Steve Cishek has basically been simulating game action. He's throwing on flat ground as well as off the mound, waiting for his next opportunity.

With the Marlins riding a four-game losing streak heading into Philadelphia on Friday night, Cishek's services have not been needed.

Full Game Coverage

PHILADELPHIA -- For more than a week, Marlins closer Steve Cishek has basically been simulating game action. He's throwing on flat ground as well as off the mound, waiting for his next opportunity.

With the Marlins riding a four-game losing streak heading into Philadelphia on Friday night, Cishek's services have not been needed.

Full Game Coverage

The Marlins had a chance to give Cishek an inning in a losing effort on Friday night. The right-hander issued a walk in a scoreless, hitless eighth inning in the 6-3 loss. Cishek had last thrown on April 3 in a save against the Rockies at Marlins Park. But during the series at Washington, he continued his regular throwing routine.

"It's not the same, but I'm throwing off the mound as much as possible," Cishek said. "If you don't, in the game, you tend to lose your feel if you tend to get lazy. I just want to make sure I'm still sharp and can get the job done."

The plus side of inactivity is Cishek is completely fresh. Baseball has so many ebbs and flows to the season that a closer never knows what might be ahead. They may go a week without getting into a game, and then be used three or four games in a row.

"This year, I'm trying to increase the workload a little bit," Cishek said. "If I don't and we start rattling off some wins and I get a chance to go out there today and a chance tomorrow, I'm going to be extremely sore the next day. I'm trying to make sure my arm is in great shape, and make sure my workload stays the same."

Cishek is riding the longest active saves streak in the Majors. Counting the end of last year, he has saved 31 straight, a team record.

The streak dates back to June 8, 2013. During that stretch, Cishek has posted a 1.14 ERA with 55 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings, plus a WHIP of 0.90. Cishek also has averaged 10.38 strikeouts per nine innings.

Cishek's last blown save came at Philadelphia on June 4, 2013, when John Mayberry Jr. belted a game-tying home run off the closer in the 10th inning.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter Miami Marlins, Steve Cishek