When St. Louis loaded the bases in the ninth inning Sunday and sent Matt Holliday up as a pinch-hitter, the Marlins didn’t mess around: Steve Cishek got the call. Five pitches later, Holliday was wincing over a third-strike call.
That’s the way it has gone for Cishek lately. After a struggling start in which he lost his role as closer, he has retired 13 consecutive batters and allowed only two hits and two walks in the past 27 batters he has faced.
“He’s been outstanding,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “He struggled early, facing some lefties. It was a command thing. He was leaving some breaking balls in to lefties and some fastballs he was yanking across his body. He’s worked hard with [pitching coach Chuck Hernandez], getting his command back. You’re seeing the same guy, he can execute his pitches. With execution comes confidence. You’re seeing a confident guy who can put the ball where he wants right now.”
Cishek feels the greater difference came in his approach to the game.
“Mentally, I’ve felt a lot better, more comfortable,” Cishek said. “I was putting a lot of pressure on myself, going out to put a zero on the board instead of going out and saying, ‘Whatever happens happens.’
“Because no matter what happens out there, I know God loves me,” he continued. “That’s the approach a lot of us take. That’s what we’ve got to do as Christians. It makes the game easier and it also makes it more fun.”
You’re playing stress-free baseball. You’re just having fun. That’s true competing because you’re now going after hitters instead of picking your spots.”
After missing two games with a back problem, Logan Morrison took some grounders in pregame Sunday and did some running. Redmond said Morrison told him he could’ve played Sunday.
Redmond expected Morrison to be ready to play soon, possibly Monday if the flight to Arizona doesn’t negatively affect his back.
There’s a certain irony in that for all of football’s macho violence, players wave “Hi, Mom” from the bench. The parental romance of baseball, more popular among women according to most polls, often revolves around fathers.
Redmond understands. He comes to the park with sons Ryan and Michael.
“I get to drive in with my kids every day,” Redmond said. “They’re so excited to be on the field, in the clubhouse. It’s good for the players. When I was coming up, it was always great to have little kids [around] because it puts things into perspective. Little kids, they don’t care if you went 0 for 4 last night or 4 for 4. They just want to hang out, talk and admire the players.
“My kids are like that,” he continued. “They love just being around. As a father, that’s pretty fun to take this journey with my kids. Whether they play baseball or not, it’s fun to be able to spend this much time with them.”
• Monday: Marlins RHP Jacob Turner (1-0, 1.80 ERA) at Arizona Diamondbacks LHP Patrick Corbin (9-0, 2.28), 9:40 p.m., Chase Field.
• Tuesday: Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi (0-0, 0.00) at Diamondbacks TBA, 9:40 p.m., Chase Field.
• Scouting report: Corbin was the National League Pitcher of the Month for May. The Diamondbacks have won all 13 games he has started this season. Turner pitched well in his previous start, going seven innings in a no-decision against the Brewers. He gave up four runs, three earned, in the Marlins’ 5-4 win.