The Miami Marlins are about to host their first three-game interleague series starting Friday night against the Seattle Mariners. That’s a matchup the Marlins sorely needed after dealing with their divisional tormenters the last ten games.
The Fighting (or Floundering) Fish went 1-9 and the bullpen has allowed seven home runs, including two each to Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth and shortstop Zach Walters. The relievers have cost the Marlins four potential victories during the course of this bad stretch and carry the shame of a 7.31 ERA.
Their lone victory came on Tuesday night and that was because Giancarlo Stanton and the offense had to make the lead bullpen proof. So even when Dan Jennings gave up his second home run in as many appearances, the final score read 11-2 Marlins.
Maybe it’s just the Nationals being the Marlins daddy and hopefully that’s only an April problem. National nightmare aside, the Marlins are 5-4 so far this season and the bullpen were only responsible for half of those losses.
Maybe what the team needs is a date with a team that is offensively incapable of taking advantage of their current weaknesses, a team like the Mariners. The Mariners are used to playing in a field as spacious as Marlins Park. Safeco Field is also dubbed as a pitcher’s park.
So far this season the Mariners are 26rd in baseball in batting average (.230) and 23rd in slugging percentage (.375) and OPS (.665). For comparative purposes, the Marlins .774 OPS is the fifth highest in baseball.
With four home runs, Cory Hart is the “home run” threat for the Mariners. He is also hitting .233 and three of those home runs came against the Los Angeles Angels.
The Marlins are starting the series with Nathan Eovaldi on Friday and Henderson Alvarez on Saturday. Then on Sunday, the Marlins are sending in Kevin Slowly in place of the injured Jacob Turner.
Slowly has experience as a starter from his time with the Minnesota Twins during the first five years of his career and has spent the offseason and even last season preparing for the versatile role that comes with being the long reliever.
"For my role where I could go out there and I could throw four or five innings at a time, I need that same endurance. At the same time, a guy like Mike Dunn and Steve Cishek who come in for an inning, maybe two, they're like the sprint athletes. They're like the Usain Bolts. They're out there and they're giving their all for those six batters or seven batters and then they can recuperate for the next day because they're going to be out there again."
After this weekend series, the Marlins will get a second crack at the NL East this season as they travel to Atlanta and New York next week.