MIAMI — Miami Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee twice remarked about the 15 innings his club played in Saturday’s 7-6 loss to the Oakland Athletics.
Except it took just 14 frames and 13 minutes shy of five hours for the result. You’d have to forgive McGehee for his mistake. This current stretch has surely taken a toll on the players.
Miami dropped to 1-5 in extra-inning games this month and is winless in five contests of at least 13. The Marlins will close out the series on Sunday with their 17th straight game without a day off.
”I don’t know if you’ve got an approach for 15 innings,” said McGehee, who tied the game with an RBI single in the ninth. ”Try to play good baseball. That was about 15 of the most well-played innings you could find. Guys making putting, plays, getting big hits. Try to forget about it and come back tomorrow and have a good taste in our mouth before that offday.”
The Marlins fell to the Phillies in 14 innings on Thursday and didn’t make it back from Philadelphia until 4:15 a.m. Friday.
After foregoing batting practice on Friday, the club erased a four-run deficit to take a 5-4 lead. In a knotted game in the ninth, the A’s rocked closer Steve Cishek for four runs in a 9-5 defeat.
A similar situation evolved on Saturday when right-hander Nathan Eovaldi surrendered four first-inning runs. Miami climbed back for a 5-4 advantage before it disappeared. Both teams exchanged zeroes in extras.
Over the past 21 games, the Marlins are 7-14. They dropped to three games below .500 for the first time since April 27. Should they lose again to the club holding baseball’s top record, it would be the first time the Marlins fell to four games below.
”It’s been frustrating,” manager Mike Redmond said. ”I’m sure as frustrated as I am the guys are frustrated or more. You lose a tough game. You battle and you come back and just can’t seem to get that big hit or make that great play. Or we make a mistake. Whatever it is, whatever happens we’re just not able to do that enough to get on the other end of these. You play 13 innings, 14 innings and you don’t win it takes a toll on you for sure, no doubt.”
Arguably tougher than the actual losses would be the impact these long games have had on a taxed bullpen.
Relievers have tossed 20 innings over the past three games. Righties A.J. Ramos and Chris Hatcher needed 94 pitches on Thursday. Neither has been in a game since, though the latter was warming up had the Marlins tied it in the 14th.
Left-hander Brian Flynn and right-hander Sam Dyson were recalled on consecutive days to help out as extra arms. It’s been almost a revolving door in the Marlins clubhouse out of sheer need.
”This is definitely a first for me,” Redmond said. ”To see these guys really night after night suck it up and eat up in the innings and get outs and keep us in the ballgame. They’ve done a great job. It’s been tough on them. I know guys are getting a lot of work. Jacob Turner did a nice job tonight to keep us there. It’s just the situation were in. We’ve had to use those guys a ton. We need that off day to come soon.”
Until then, the Marlins will try to regroup and salvage the series. On Saturday, they left 14 men on base, including the bases loaded in the 14th.
Giancarlo Stanton led off with a single but McGehee grounded into a fielder’s choice. Garrett Jones singled and pinch-hitter Jeff Mathis walked to load the bases. Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out looking and Donovan Solano flied out to right to end the game.
”It will all come around, that’s just how baseball is,” Eovaldi said. ”We’ve got to do a better job of the small things right. I just feel like that’s what it comes down to.”
Added McGehee: ”It’s not easy. We had chances. You could argue the last three nights we had opportunities to win the game. We weren’t able to do it. But at the same time it’s three days in the grand scheme of things. We’ve been having a little bit of a tough go. We’ve got a much-needed offday on Monday, so tomorrow’s going to be all-hands on deck and grind it out for hopefully nine innings.”