Marlins closer Steve Cishek blew four of his first seven save chances, part of the reason why the Marlins got off to a 16-22 start under manager Mike Redmond before he was fired on May 17. Things haven’t gone much better since then, as the Marlins entered Saturday’s game against the Orioles on an eight-game losing streak, five have come under GM-turned-manager Dan Jennings.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that, before Redmond was fired, the Marlins had some interest in trading for Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon. The club is 16-27 now, 9.5 games out of first place in the NL East. The Marlins may not even consider themselves buyers anymore and may instead pawn of veterans including Dan Haren, Mike Dunn, and and Michael Morse leading up to the July 31 trade deadline.
Papelbon, 34, would have been and would still be an upgrade in the Marlins’ bullpen. The veteran has gotten the save in all 11 opportunities while posting a 1.50 ERA with a 23/4 K/BB ratio in 18 innings. He’s owed $13 million for the 2015 season and his 2016 option worth $13 million will vest if he finishes 31 more games between now and the end of the season. (It vests with 100 combined games finished between 2014-15. He had 52 last season and has 17 so far this season.)
Nationals 8, Yankees 6: Down by four after four and a half innings, the Nats chipped back and then won the whole dang thing on a Ryan Zimmerman two-run walkoff homer in the tenth inning. Bryce Harper homered too. It was his 15th, which leads the NL. Washington is now 13-4 in May and are tied for first place in the NL East. So much for all of that April hand-wringing.
Cardinals 10, Mets 2: Not gonna say that this was a laugher, but Cardinals lefty specialist Randy Choate actually had a plate appearance here. Drew a walk! The guy has played for 15 years. This was just his sixth plate appearance ever — his first since 2004 — and the first time he has ever reached base. I wonder if anyone gave him a GPS in order to find first. Randy Grichuk drove in three and every Cardinals starter had a hit except for Matt Holliday.
Diamondbacks 4, Marlins 2: A.J. Pollock hit a pinch-hit, tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth. The righty Pollock hit it off of lefty Mike Dunn. Chip Hale said after the game that Pollock would not have been used as a pinch hitter if the Marlins had a righty up in the pen, ready to bring in to face Pollock:
“We were watching the pen real carefully and there was no righty up at the time,” Hale said. “That was the only way I was going to use him for Peralta. If there had been a righty up I probably wouldn’t have done it.”
After the game, new Marlins manager Dan Jennings said that he had his lefty face Pollock because he “went with the gut feeling.” That gut, at that point in time, had less than two full games’ managerial experience in it.
Twins 8, Pirates 5: A lot of weird things here. Like, in the second, Joe Mauer came up with the bases loaded and poked a single through the left side. Just a weak rolling grounder hit the opposite way. And it cleared the dang bases:
Clint Hurdle’s comments about that play after the game were harsh, but fair:
Oh, and Pedro Alvarez hit a home run into the Allegheny River on the fly. And it landed in a boat. For real:
Angels 3, Blue Jays 2: Hector Santiago has started eight games this year. In six of them, this one included, he has allowed one earned run or fewer. Not too shabby. Especially given how well the Blue Jays have hit left-handers this year.
Brewers 8, Tigers 1: Six runs in the third inning for the Brewers, thanks in part to back-to-back-to-back homers from Ryan Braun, Adam Lind and Aramis Ramirez. Note: you can hit back-to-back-to-back homers, but three guys can’t stand back-to-back-to-back. Physically impossible. Baseball is a funny game.
Orioles 9, Mariners 4: Jimmy Paredes homered and drove in four. Paredes has reached base in 20 straight games. His big game came at a good time too, as last year’s DH, Nelson Cruz, was in town. He homered, but the local fans had no reason to long for him last night.
Red Sox 4, Rangers 3: The otherwise slumping Mike Napoli went 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBI. David Ortiz homered too and Wade Miley pitched well (7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 7K), which hasn’t happened too often lately.
Indians 3, White Sox 1: Trevor Bauer snapped the White Sox’ winning streak by pitching one-run ball into the eighth and striking out seven. He has made three starts against Chicago this year and has owned them completely.
Royals 3, Reds 0: Yordano Ventura, Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis combined for a four-hit shutout. This after the Royals shut out their last opponent, the Yankees, on Sunday. Johnny Cueto took the loss and is now 3-4. He has received a total of two runs of support in those four losses. He’s probably going to be dealt at the deadline. I’m guessing he can’t wait.
Astros 6, Athletics 4: Chris Carter and Colby Rasmus each hit two-run homers. Houston has the best record in the American League and Oakland has lost five of six.
Rockies 6, Phillies 5: Philly’s six-game winning streak is over, as Nick Hundley hit a go-ahead homer in the eighth. The Rockies, despite the win, struck out ten times. That’s the seventh straight game in which they’ve done that. According to the gamer, that’s one shy of the record, currently held by the 2011 San Diego Padres.
Padres 4, Cubs 3: James Shields got a no-decision, but he struck out 11 while allowing two runs in seven innings, outdueling Jason Hammel. Derek Norris hit a two-run double in the eighth to break a tie. Former University of San Diego player Kris Bryant made his return to town and went 1-for4.
Giants 2, Dodgers 0: Six and a third shutout innings for Tim Hudson as the Giants win their fourth in a row. They’re three and a half back in the west. Which is fairly interesting.
Steve Cishek and his 10.32 ERA are out as Marlins closer
Steve Cishek’s run as the Marlins’ closer is over–or at the very least, on hold–after back-to-back ugly blown saves Sunday and Monday.
Cishek has blown four saves and converted three saves this season while posting a 10.32 ERA in 13 appearances, and manager Mike Redmond has seen enough to start mixing in other options for the ninth inning:
Shrek [Cishek] has done a tremendous job for us, but at the end of the day, it’s about winning games. It’s tough to win in the big leagues, and when you get late leads, you’ve got to be able to lock them down.
For now Redmond said he plans to “mix and match” in the ninth inning, which likely means some combination of A.J. Ramos, Bryan Morris, and Mike Dunn.
There’s no getting around how awful Cishek has been this season, but he converted 39 of 43 save chances last season and came into this year with a career ERA of 2.98 in 269 innings.
Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that the Rangers and Marlins have been discussing a trade involving pitching. The Rangers, who lost Yu Darvish for the season due to Tommy John surgery, need rotation depth and apparently have interest in Brad Hand. They also need a second left-hander in the bullpen, and the Marlins’ Mike Dunn could fill that gap.
Hand, a left-hander who turned 25 years old on Friday, has a career 4.42 ERA with a 123/88 K/BB ratio over 195 1/3 innings in the majors. Hand is out of options and the Marlins’ starting rotation is full, so he would either open up the season as a reliever or he’d move on to another team.
Dunn, 29, is also out of options. He’s proved effective out of the bullpen for the Marlins over the last two seasons, compiling a combined 2.89 ERA with a 139/50 K/BB ratio over 124 2/3 innings. Over his career, he’s held left-handed hitters to an OPS 115 points lower than right-handed hitters.
Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that reliever Mike Dunn has avoided arbitration with the Marlins. The two sides agreed on a two-year, $5.8 million deal, which buys out his two remaining years of arbitration eligibility. Dunn will earn $2.35 million in 2015 and $3.45 million in 2016.
Dunn had filed for $2.6 million and the Marlins countered with $2.355 million. The average annual value of $2.9 million is slightly more than Dunn had asked for and about $500,000 above the midpoint of the two figures.
Dunn, 29, finished with a 3.16 ERA and a 67/22 K/BB ratio over 57 innings last season for the Marlins. The lefty has significantly reduced his walk rate in recent years while continuing to rank in the top-30 in strikeout rate among relief pitchers.