As heartbreaking as Thursday's 4-3 loss was for Marlins starter Kevin Slowey because he let a 3-1 lead get away from him and failed to pick up his first win since Sept. 18, 2010, there was a positive.
He threw a season-high 112 pitches over six innings of three-run, five-hit ball and felt good afterward.
"For a pitcher like me who has come back from some injuries to know my manager and my pitching coach have faith in me that my pitches 105 to 112 are still going to be competitive it's a great thing," said Slowey, who didn't pitch all of 2012 because of a fractured rib and missed the rest of the 2011 season with an abdominal strain.
"I felt like I was still commanding the ball where I wanted to. The [game-tying home run] pitch to [Nate] Schierholtz just didn't execute it in where I wanted it. But those next couple batters I was able to continue to let it go. I didn't feel winded or exhausted."
Marlins manager Mike Redmond said he felt "totally confident" having Slowey continue to work in the sixth even though his pitch count was high. Slowey hadn't thrown more than 93 pitches in a game this season before Thursday.
"We need to get this guy a win," Redmond said. "He's pitched his butt off. He deserves it."
BIG HEAT FAN
Turns out the Heat jersey with the No. 1 hanging in the Marlins' clubhouse doesn't belong to Chris Bosh. It belongs to veteran left-fielder and longtime Heat fan Juan Pierre, who said he received it as a gift from the Heat during his bachelor party three years ago at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Pierre said he's had the jersey hung close to his baseball locker since he got it and brings it out during the playoffs. But he won't wear it.
"I wouldn't wear it with shorts and kick it," Pierre said. "Once you get past 30 you cant' wear jerseys. That's just the rule. You pass 30 years old you can't wear it. When I became a man I had to put those away."
> Marlins (5-17): 1. Juan Pierre LF, 2. Placido Polanco 3B, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Joe Mahoney 1B, 5. Donovan Solano 2B, 6. Rob Brantly C, 7. Chris Coghlan CF, 8. Chris Valaika SS, 9. Wade LeBlanc LHP.
> Cubs (7-14): 1. Dave Sappelt CF, 2. Starlin Castro SS, 3. Anthony Rizzo 1B, 4. Alfonso Soriano LF, 5. Wellington Castillo C, 6. Scott Hairston RF, 7. Cody Ransom 3B, 8. Darwin Barney 2B, 9. Scott Feldman RHP.
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria denied a Yahoo! report Friday he personally mandated the lineup card change that flip-flopped starting pitchers Jose Fernandez and Ricky Nolasco before a doubleheader Tuesday in chilly Minnesota and did not sit well with the clubhouse.
“I had nothing to do with the decision,” Loria told FOXSports.com on Friday. “I was informed of the decision by the baseball department. I told them it was their call.
“I don’t make decisions on who to pitch and when, how to go about it — that’s not my role. Sometimes they call me and tell me what they’re doing. But I don’t call them up and say, ‘This is what is going to happen.’ That’s not true.”
Loria told FoxSports he was discussing his primary business -- art -- at the time he received a call about the pitching changes from general manager Michael Hill. “I was engaged in discussions in the world about pictures, as in paintings, not pitchers, guys who can or can’t paint the strike zone,” he said.
Citing three unnamed sources, Yahoo! reported Loria insisted Fernandez, the team's prized 20-year-old rookie, pitch in the first half of the doubleheader at frigid Target Field instead of the scheduled Nolasco because the day game was expected to be warmer. The temperature at Fernandez's first pitch (38 degrees) was actually colder than at the beginning of Nolasco's start (42 degrees).
For doubleheaders, it is normal protocol to allow the pitcher with the most seniority to have his choice of games. Nolasco is the team's all-time wins leader and its opening day starter. Fernandez had made only three big-league starts going in to Tuesday.
Nolasco's agent Matt Sosnick told The Miami Herald Thursday: “I know it wasn’t the manager’s decision, and [front-office executives] Larry Beinfest and Mike Hill have too much integrity to make that type of call. Whoever made the choice would have to have so little social and emotional awareness that would totally have a lack of understanding of how it would affect Ricky and the manager.”
Marlins manager Mike Redmond, who was reportedly embarrassed by the decision made above his head, was asked about the new reports on Friday.
"We were all on the call," Redmond said. "It was an organizational decision. I'll leave it at that."
At 5-17 they've got the worst record in baseball.
With 57 runs scored they're the worst offensive team in baseball by at least 12 runs. Homers? RBI? Batting average? Also dead last in the game.
Their team ERA of 4.48? Not the worst in baseball. But it still ranks 27th out of 30 teams.
We know these Marlins aren't very good. But are they going to be the worst Marlins team ever?
With five games left in the month of April they've got a shot of at least getting off to the worst start ever.
Until now, the worst Marlins start in club history was 5-20 back in 1995. Those Marlins only played four games in April because the season started late following the strike. But they still didn't win their sixth game until Game 26. If these Marlins get swept by the visiting Cubs this weekend they'll match that feat. Lose to the Mets on Monday too and the worst start in franchise history is theirs.
So what's the worst April in Marlins history? That distinction belongs to the 1999 Marlins who went 6-17. The 2006 Marlins weren't far behind at 6-16.
What about the worst month ever? That should be fresh in your minds. The 2011 Marlins went 5-23 in the month of June. These Marlins can't eclipse that because there are only five games left. The worst they could finish is 5-22. But they can finish second all-time.
So who deserves the blame for this team's struggles? It can obviously go a lot of places, but you've got to point to the offense first. The team's 57 runs are on pace to finish as the fewest ever in a month. The previous record for fewest runs in a month with at least 20 games? Last year's Marlins in April. They scored just 73 runs.
If these Marlins don't combine to score at least 16 runs over the next five days, they'll own that dubious record too.