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Marlins can't dig out of early deficits to Padres; Stanton flashes leather in center; McKeon's bullpen thoughts

The Marlins found themselves in a hole every game this series, as the Padres combined to score nine first-inning runs in the three games. Such a formula has been a recipe for disaster for Florida this year, and the Fish have a 17-34 record when they allow their opponent to score first.

“This is a club that can’t afford to give up three or four runs in the first inning,” manager Jack McKeon said. “We don’t have that kind of offensive power, that we can overcome big leads early.”

This point — if you can’t get an early lead, you have to hope for a comeback — was particularly evident against San Diego, which has the league’s best bullpen, as determined by ERA (2.83). Padres relievers pitched 9 2/3 scoreless innings in the series, allowing only six hits and racking up 13 strikeouts.

“I think you’ve got to get ahead of those guys, because their bullpen is lights out, whether it’s [Mike] Adams, [Luke] Gregerson, [Heath] Bell or [Chad] Qualls,” Logan Morrison said. “Those guys are really good. So you’ve got to get on their starting pitching. Problem is their starting pitching was pretty good. [They] made pitches when they had to, and we didn’t really have disciplined at-bats against them; I’m including myself in that.”

The end result: After the top of the first inning each game, Florida trailed the rest of the way. San Diego led in every inning of the series. 

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In Stanton’s 287-game minor-league career, he played center field 46 times. In his 191st big-league contest, Stanton played center, shifting over from right field when manager Jack McKeon rested in regulars with his team trailing 14-3 on Wednesday.

“It’s not bad. [There’s] a lot of room to work with out there,” Stanton said. “As long as I play, I don’t care where it is.”

Stanton didn’t seem to mind the move, as he made a Willie Mays-like basket-style catch on a long fly ball by Logan Forsythe to Sun Life Stadium’s “Bermuda Triangle”

“You get way better reads in center,” Stanton said. “You can see the location off the bat and if [the pitcher] misses his location, you can see [the ball] a lot faster than you would from the corners.”

When asked if Stanton could play center field full time, not necessarily now but during his big league career, McKeon said he wasn’t sure.

“It’s hard to say,” McKeon said. “I haven’t seen that much of him.”

The idea of sticking Stanton in center to be a player similar to Matt Kemp, like some fans have suggested recently, is intriguing. Kemp’s defense in center, though, does not receive good reviews from advanced fielding metrics. 

And the guess here is that Stanton will remain in right field, which is where he best profiles, but his arm strength and range would allow him to play center on an as-needed basis.

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With trade rumors swirling and the trade deadline approaching, McKeon said Wednesday that Edward Mujica would fill the closer’s role if Leo Nuñez gets traded.

But the manager also offered a few intriguing insights about his other bullpen arms. McKeon said lefty Mike Dunn could also close games, though McKeon wants Dunn to “polish up his breaking ball.” McKeon added that Steve Cishek could be a late-inning pitcher “down the road.”

In typical McKeon-ese, he has been referring to Mujica as “Murica” while praising his relief ace. The 27-year-old Venezuelan pitched two scoreless innings of relief Thursday against his former Padres teammates, allowing one hit and striking out one. 

-- Matt Forman

Comments

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The digg

Great we saaaak again!

DC Marlin

Typical Marlins... Hottest team in the NL and then come home and get swept by a minor league squad in SD. We made SD look like the 27' Yankees!

Mlb Insider

Face it Fish fans. Marlins are a mediocre team at best and will spend the rest of the season fighting to finish third in NL east,just where they were projected to finish with a healthy J.J. Those that drink the Loria Kool-Aid ,will always be disappointed,even next year with a new stadium.

Glags

When did they stop "saaaking"? They were on a roll because they played the Astros and Cubs. The problem with this team has been their inconsistent pitching and their inability to hit quality pitching.

Say what you want about the Padres' record but they are a lot closer to being a complete team than the Marlins are. Think about this, the Padres were in the race up to the last day not so long ago. If they keep Gonzalez and add a bat they'd be in the same position. Add up the numbers Ludwick has 60-some RBI plus whatever Gonzalez would've added and they'd be in good shape. Plus Chase Headly has been injured.

Anyways, I agree the ownership has been lacking scruples but I have no reason to believe that they'll continue to trade away the good players. TBD.

Glags

By the way, for those that complaint about Rich and Tommy, I was watching some clips from yesterday's game and found the Padres' announcers to be extremely annoying. I don't know of this guy went to Harry Caray school of broadcasting or it might be Will Ferrel doing the broadcast as Harry but I'll stick with our guys. I don't know anything about Harry and never heard any of his calls but am I correct in saying he was known more for his quirkiness than his broadcasting skills.

Samsons Boyfriend

Glags...agree the Padres announcer on the MLB website video is one of the worst Ive EVER heard...He calls the team 'My Padres' and sounds like he's announcing the game for a Top 40 Countdown 60's radio station. Where did they get this Dinosaur from?...Cousin Brucie doing Baseball on the radio?..What a BOZO!!!!

Aggie 67

Last two nights I watched the Rockies-Braves broadcast on Direct TV. The Rockies announcers are a class act. Not too biased and gave a very good objective analysis of Uggla and his struggles this year. Evan after he hit two home runs they were very positive in their comments toward him.

By the way, how is a new stadium going to help this pitiful Marlins team win?

laurelbowie

Jeff Conine has an idea how to help this team win. He sez they should trade Hanley. First time I've heard anybody employed by the Marlins say that flat-out. Way to go, Niner.

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