Nathan Eovaldi was on the hill for the Marlins on Monday. Rob Brantly is expected to be behind the plate for them on Tuesday. And it probably won’t be long before Jacob Turner makes his way up from the minors.
The calendar says it’s August.
But as far as the last-place Marlins are concerned, it might just as well be March. It might as well be spring training, with the young newcomers obtained in a series of trades last month auditioning for 2013 jobs.
Eovaldi, part of the return for the Marlins in the Hanley Ramirez trade with the Dodgers, didn’t exactly turn in a bravo performance at Marlins Park, where he was worked over by the Phillies.
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The 22-year-old Texan toiled for five full — but unfulfilling — innings in a 4-0 setback to Philadelphia, giving the Marlins back-to-back shutout losses for the first time since Sept. 27 and 28, 2009. Cole Hamels went the distance for the Phils to record his second consecutive shutout.
“We were facing one of the best lefties in the game,” manager Ozzie Guillen said.
There was rarely a time Monday when Eovaldi was pitching that the Phils didn’t have someone on base, from his leadoff walk in the first frame to the bases-loaded fly ball out he recorded to end the fifth — and his evening.
Eovaldi, who was making his fourth start for the Marlins, gave up eight hits, walked three and fell to 3-8 this season (2-2 with the Marlins).
The Phillies ripped off three consecutive hits in the third to score their first run and pushed another run across on Greg Dobbs’ two-out fielding error. Dobbs was starting at third in place of Nick Green, who was scratched because of a thumb injury.
Ex-Marlin Juan Pierre made it 3-0 with his two-out triple in the fourth.
The overall damage incurred by Eovaldi could have been much worse. Giancarlo Stanton made a leaping, over-the-shoulder catch to rob Erik Kratz of an extra-base hit in the second inning.
“He’s got to throw strikes,” Guillen said. “I don’t care how much good stuff you have, if you don’t throw strikes, you’re going to run into trouble. He got lucky they didn’t score that many runs.”
Then again, the Marlins didn’t do themselves any favors on the offensive side. After Donovan Solano singled off Hamels to start the first, Jose Reyes made a poor decision by trying to stretch his bloop single into a double on a ball that was hit to right and fielded quickly by Domonic Brown. Reyes was tagged out in the rundown for the second out of the inning, and the Marlins failed to score.
That wasn’t the only head-scratcher. With runners at first and second and two outs in the fifth — and Carlos Lee, one of the Marlins’ only reliable run-producers at the plate —the Marlins attempted a double steal. Justin Ruggiano was thrown out at third to end the inning, with Lee left holding his bat.
“We ran the bases well [Monday],” Guillen said with obvious sarcasm.
The net result was another listless performance by the Marlins in which the loudest cheering of the night was saved for the nightly sea creature race between innings. The Marlins were held to six hits by Hamels one day after the Dodgers’ Chris Capuano held them to just two over eight innings in a 5-0 loss.
“Our lineup is not the one we want right now,” Guillen said. “We’ve got a couple of guys hurt. Our offense is not the greatest offense right now.”
The defeat left the Marlins at 52-64. At the same point a year ago, they were 55-61 on their way to a 72-90 record and a last-place finish.