Prior to the Miami Marlins’ series opener against the San Diego Padres on Monday, manager Skip Schumaker stressed the importance of the team having a sense of urgency. The Marlins are teetering on the outside of the playoff field and the numbers of games remaining are dwindling.
But as has been the case the past week and a half, the Marlins failed to capitalize on yet another opportunity.
Following a 4-0 loss to the Padres on Wednesday at Petco Park, the Marlins have now dropped three consecutive series after also losing two of three games against both the Houston Astros at home and the Los Angeles Dodgers on the road.
The Marlins lost the series opener to the Padres 6-2 on Monday before winning 3-0 on Tuesday. Miami is 65-63 on the season. The Padres improve to 61-67.
“We try to win every game,” Schumaker said. “That has not changed since coming out of spring training. The messaging has never gone away from trying to win today. I don’t go in that room and say ‘We’ve got to string together wins.’ I say ‘We’ve got to win today.’ That’s the message from our staff, our team, our leaders in that clubhouse. We do everything we can to win today.”
Here are three takeaways from the game.
Offense falls flat
The Marlins managed just four hits and three walks Wednesday en route to their ninth shutout loss of the season.
In 36 games since the All-Star Break, the Marlins have been held to two or fewer runs 15 times, including four times over this six-game road trip.
“The Dodgers rotation and Padres rotation just stuck it to us,” Schumaker said. “There’s no other way to put it. There’s some guys that have had some really productive at-bats that didn’t get the result. We’ve got to put more runs across to help out our pitchers.”
Miami’s best chance for a rally Wednesday came in the ninth inning, when they loaded the bases with one out against Josh Hader on a Josh Bell single and walks from Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Bryan De La Cruz.
But Garrett Hampson and Yuli Gurriel both struck out swinging to end the threat.
“It’s tough to score off Hader,” Schumaker said. “Waiting to get four runs off Hader is not ideal.”
Sandy Alcantara’s outing
For the first time in six starts, Marlins right-handed pitcher Sandy Alcantara failed to log a quality start, defined as pitching at least six innings and allowing no more than three earned runs.
Alcantara’s line on Wednesday: Four earned runs allowed on seven hits and three walks while striking out three over 6 2/3 innings.
Alcantara had held the Padres to just one run through five innings before giving up a two-run home run to Xander Boegarts in the sixth and then an RBI single to Fernando Tatis Jr. with two outs in the seventh to end his time on the mound.
Over his previous five starts before Wednesday, Alcantara had pitched to a 2.13 ERA (nine earned runs in 38 innings). This includes complete games against the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees.
Where the wild card race stands
As of the end of their game Wednesday, the Marlins are one-and-a-half games back of the final wild card spot, currently held by the Arizona Diamondbacks. That positioning, however, remains fluid pending the result of the Philadelphia Phillies-San Francisco Giants game and the Cincinnati Reds’ doubleheader with the Los Angeles Angels.
After an off day Thursday, the Marlins host the Washington Nationals for a three-game series starting Friday and then have a two-game set with the Rays at loanDepot park.
“Every game counts. Every pitch counts. Every inning, it all matters,” shortstop Joey Wendle said. “You never know what game is going to be the one that makes a difference and, to that tune, you never know what hit, what pitch, what run is going to make the difference for you. Just continue to compete and continue that nose to the grindstone mentality. We are right in the thick of it. We know how we’re capable of playing and need to come out and do that more times than not.”