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Extra-inning failures leaves Miami Marlins battle weary

Miami Marlins
Miami Marlins
Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images

With their 7-6, 14-inning loss against the Oakland Athletics on Saturday, the Miami Marlins became the first team in baseball history to lose five-or-more 13+ inning games in a calendar month.

"It's been frustrating," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "I'm sure as frustrated as I am, the guys are as 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."

The Marlins have demonstrated the ability to go the distance all season. Reed Johnson once told me that this Miami lineup was a relentless one from top to bottom, and his point has merit. Of the five historic 13+ innings loses, four of them were forced by the Marlins. Overall the Marlins are 19-11 in one-run games, but just 4-8 in extra innings.

Those extra-inning games have left the bullpen battle weary. In the last three days alone, Marlins relievers have worked 21 out of 37 innings, which includes two extensive-inning games.

"This is definitely a first for me," Redmond said of the wear and tear on the 'pen. "To see these guys, really, night after night suck it up and eat up 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."

Redmond also said on Saturday that he was preparing to run the bat boy out there should the Marlins have once again tied the game in the 14th inning. It’s good that through all this, Redmond still has his sense of humor intact.

Yelich returns from DL, Marisnick and DeSclafani optioned to Triple-A

The Marlins will be getting healthier on Sunday when left fielder Christian Yelich returns from the 15-day disabled list. As a corresponding move, the Marlins have sent down centerfielder Jake Marisnick and pitcher Anthony Desclafani to Triple-A New Orleans.

DeSclafani gone 1-2 with a 7.40 ERA in 24.1 innings, including posting a 9.00 ERA in his last three starts. The Marlins replace DeSclafani with reliever Dan Jennings. Jennings gives the Fish a fresh arm in the bullpen.

One could make the argument that Jennings is the Marlins' best reliever. In 22.2 innings pitched, Jennings has only given up two earned runs and tallied 23 strikeouts.

Marisnick played in 13 games, including 10 starts since being called up with DeSclafani and Heaney on June 16. While his arm and speed makes him an MLB ready center fielder, his bat left much to be desired, as he hit just .170 (8 for 47) and struck out 18 times.

Yelich and Marisnick are close friends. Marisnick was called up to fill in for his friend but didn’t play well enough to stick around long enough to play alongside him. After Saturday’s loss, the two friends shared one last moment together in the Marlins clubhouse by Yelich’s locker -- fittingly beneath the photo of the two side by side that was originally placed there by their veteran teammates as a joke.

When it was over, Marisnick left Yelich his glove with he his nickname, "Big Fudge" inscribed on the side. Assuring Yelich that he'll be far but still close at the same time.

When you can’t explain how and why things happened the way they have in this sport, “it’s baseball” becomes the automatic response. As if baseball is rock-paper-scissors, black jack and poker all blended together in a roulette table – you may think that you control a lot but even then, you can really only make up have of the distance between your current location and your desired destination.

"It will all come around, that's just how baseball is," Nathan Eovaldi said. "We've got to do a better job [at doing the small things]. I just feel like that's what it comes down to."