Mike Redmond said the All-Star break couldn’t have come at a better time for the Marlins, who limped into intermission having lost 20 of their previous 30 games.
From the looks of Friday’s putrid performance, the break didn’t do them a lick of good. The San Francisco Giants punished Nathan Eovaldi and the Marlins with a thorough whipping, cruising to a 9-1 victory that was over early.
How bad was it for Eovaldi?
Incredibly, the pitcher’s 12.27 ERA in four career starts against the Giants grew to 13.30 after coughing up eight runs in a matter of four innings Friday.
Asked why the Giants have enjoyed so much success against him, Eovaldi replied: “I wish I knew.”
Out of all the concerns involving the Marlins’ starting rotation heading into the second half, Eovaldi wasn’t supposed to be one of them.
But his outing in the first game back from the break was atrocious from the moment Brandon Crawford fouled off five 2-strike pitches before clubbing a 2-run homer in the second.
The Giants tacked on two more runs in the third before the walls came tumbling down on Eovaldi in the fifth when he gave up four runs, including a 3-run homer by Pablo Sandoval.
“I don’t know if they’ve got something on him or what,” Redmond said. “But they’ve done quite a bit of damage on him.”
As dreadful as Eovaldi’s performance was, it wasn’t much worse than his one other start this season against the Giants, when he gave up six runs in 4 1/3 innings at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Certainly it wasn’t the way the Marlins hoped to start the second half, not after closing out the first half on a four-game losing skid, with three of those losses coming to the New York Mets.
Giancarlo Stanton acknowledged before Friday’s game that time is of the essence if the Marlins have hope whatsoever of reentering the playoff picture.
“It’s now or never,” Stanton said. “We took a downward turn at the end of the first half, so there’s no more time to mess around. If we’re going to make a push, it’s now.”
Stanton was about the only Marlin doing much of any pushing Friday.
He clobbered a Madison Bumgarner cutter off the batter’s eye in center in the sixth inning, but it caused barely a dent in the score as the Marlins were trailing 9-0 at the time.
“[There have been] too many games where you’re down 4-0 in the third inning,” Redmond said. “That’s a pretty daunting number.”
The shot was Stanton’s 22nd homer and ended a stretch of 59 at bats without one.
It was also his 139th career homer with the Marlins, pushing him past Miguel Cabrera for fourth place on the team’s all-time list.
ESPN Stats and Info estimated the distance of Friday’s blast at 466 feet.
Stanton said his participation in the Home Run Derby actually helped him “feel better” at the plate.
“I wasn’t myself the last couple of weeks,” Stanton said.
“The short time off and the Derby kind of helped me out. I had to lock in. I had to get my swing in a perfect groove. I didn’t put an arch in my swing. My outs were line drives, for the most part. My swings stayed on the path.”
But Stanton’s homer was about the only thing the Marlins could feel good about.
They have now lost six of their past seven games, and four of those were by scores of 9-1, 7-1, 9-1 and 9-1.