One day after the Marlins suffered the worst ninth-inning collapse in franchise history, manager Ozzie Guillen shaved off his mustache, telling 790 The Ticket he did it “so people don’t know who I am” and so that they won’t say “that’s the overrated manager we brought here.”
Guillen made the comments with humor tingeing his voice.
But Monday’s 8-7 loss to the Cardinals in 10 innings was no laughing matter, as Marlins closer Heath Bell squandered a 6-2 lead in the ninth.
According to STATS Inc., no Marlins pitcher had ever blown a ninth-inning lead so large.
Seven times previously the Marlins had blown a three-run lead in the ninth before losing.
And on Sept. 17, 2006, the Marlins blew a four-run lead in the 10th inning at Turner Field before losing to the Braves.
“It was a very tough one, very painful one, very embarrassing one,” Guillen said of Monday’s loss.
Bell apologized to teammates in the aftermath of the meltdown.
But Guillen defended his closer, saying the gesture was unnecessary.
“He doesn’t have to apologize to anyone here,” Guillen said of Bell, who had been his only reliable reliever during the team’s June swoon.
In what marked his eighth appearance of this month, the runs were the first allowed by Bell.
Praise for Dunn
Guillen was pleased with southpaw reliever Mike Dunn, who entered in Monday’s eighth inning with Cardinal runners at first and second and struck out both batters he faced.
In his three outings since being recalled from Triple A New Orleans, Dunn has exhibited none of the control problems that prompted his two demotions. He has struck out four without allowing a walk in two total innings of work.
“I’m very excited because we’re going to need him,” Guillen said of Dunn. “We can’t rely on [ Randy] Choate every time we face lefties. It may be the biggest [addition] we’re going to have. We need him very bad. Don’t walk people. Make people swing the bat.”
In 12 relief appearances before his most recent demotion, Dunn had walked 10 in 10 1/3 innings.
Emilio Bonifacio received more good news from a doctor on Tuesday.
Bonifacio was given the green light to hit off a tee and begin playing catch with a glove on his surgically repaired left hand. The outfielder said the timetable for his post-All-Star break return remains unchanged.
“He liked the way it looked,” Bonifacio said.
• Wednesday: Marlins RHP Anibal Sanchez (3-6, 3.96 ERA) vs. St. Louis Cardinals RHP Joe Kelly (1-0, 3.52), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
• Thursday: No game
• Scouting report: Sanchez has gone 0-3 in his four starts this month and has given up 20 runs in 22 1/3 innings (8.06 ERA). The Cardinals’ Kelly will be making just his fourth major-league start and first outside of the state of Missouri.