CINCINNATI -- A day after the Marlins bullpen blew a three-run lead and cost Josh Johnson another victory, manager Edwin Rodriguez praised his ace for the way he's been able to handle the disappointment.
"I've been very impressed with JJ. Not for the obvious things, everybody knows about his ability to pitch. It's the way he approaches the game. The way he controls his emotions. He's the whole package," Rodriguez said.
"If it would have been me, I would have been throwing things all over the clubhouse. He's been very, very good about it."
Turns out things might have gone a little differently Saturday if not for an unfortunate accident involving setup man Clay Hensley, who slipped down a flight of stairs at the team hotel before Friday's game and was unavailable to pitch in the first two games of this series versus the Reds with a bruised left shoulder blade.
"Just slipped. I was wearing my dress shoes and caught the step on it, hit my back pretty hard," Hensley said. ""The first day we were here I couldn't even put a shirt on because of the bruise on my left side.
"It sidelined me [Friday] for sure. [Saturday], I was kind of questionable. I threw a bullpen, but they wanted me to give it another day of rest. I had some x-rays, didn't fracture anything. It is what it is. I have to be ready to go today."
Rodriguez acknowledged he would have called on Hensley, his regular setup man, with two outs in the eighth inning Saturday. Instead, Edward Mujica came in and allowed four straight hits before being pulled for Ryan Webb, who couldn't protect the Marlins 3-2 lead at that point.
"Tough situation," Rodriguez told The Miami Herald. "We kind of had our hands tied without Clay and [closer Leo Nunez] available."
Webb was charged with the blown save, his third of the season. The Marlins, the last major league team to blow a save on April 24, have blown four saves over their last six games.
The Marlins bullpen, which owned the lowest ERA in the majors entering the series (2.10), now ranks second (2.38) behind the Padres (2.31). A year ago, the Marlins bullpen blew seven leads handed over to them by Johnson. They've already done it twice this season.
Mujica (2-1, 6.10 ERA) said Sunday he was ready to turn the page on his rough outing.
"I just [screwed] it up bad," Mujica said. "I didn't say nothing to [Johnson]. My job was to make that out. But like I said, sometimes you're not going to do your job the right way."
Before the season, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria told the media he wanted All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez to go after the National League MVP trophy.
Ramirez has been anything but an MVP candidate thus far. The 2009 NL Batting Champion closed the month of April hitting .200 (17 for 85) with nine RBI. He has yet to hit a home run -- a drought that spans all the way through spring training and back to the second game of a double header against the Phillies last Sept. 6. Ramirez, who said he wanted to steal more bases in 2011, has also been successful on just three of his seven steal attempts.
"What I'm concerned about is how he's taking it, that he will keep the same energy he's been doing," Rodriguez said.
"He's been handling the situation perfectly. He's showing a lot of energy, he's pulling for his teammates even when he's struggling. I'm not concerned about the numbers he's going to put up or when he's going to start hitting. I know he's going to start hitting."
Asked if he might consider moving Ramirez out of the No. 3 spot in the lineup, Rodriguez said: "Who are we going to put in that third hole? Chris Coghlan? Then, who is going to lead off?
"I think he needs to play himself out of that whole situation... if we have one guy here who should be able to get out of that slump, it's him."
FACING CHAPMAN'S HEAT
Saturday's game was the first time the Marlins got a chance to see hard-throwing Cuban left-hander Aroldis Chapman in person.
The experience wasn't so bad as the Marlins drew three walks and scored two runs off Chapman with a Wes Helms bases-loaded double. Chapman, who registered a pitch on April 18 at 106 miles per hour, hit 102 on the gun Saturday night.
"I faced Randy Johnson and a bunch of those guys. I'd compare him to Randy Johnson back in his day," Helms said. "Randy had a little closer release point to you, so it made it tougher. But as far as velocity goes, he throws hard. That's all you can say, he really brings it."
Before Josh Johnson finished up his seven scoreless innings Saturday night to drop his ERA to a major-league leading 0.88, he unleashed a wicked breaking ball in the dirt that left catcher John Buck bruised, but relieved he was wearing a cup.
"Cracked it right here," Buck said as he showed reporters where his NuttyBuddy protective cup was damaged. "The guy who does these takes one off the pitching machine at like 90 miles per hour. It works good. Obviously saved my testicles last night."
Josh Johnson said he Ricky Nolasco, Chris Volstad and Mike Stanton purchased the suits near the team hotel shortly after going out to dinner Thursday in Cincinnati.
Johnson's suit is peach, Nolasco's is gold, Stanton's is pink and Volstad's is blue with pinstripes.