The weather wasn’t the only thing that turned cooler when the Marlins reached the City of Brotherly Love after spending the weekend in the nation’s capital.
So did their bats.
Fresh off a 23-run outpouring in Washington, the fizz in the Marlins’ offensive attack suddenly turned flat Monday in a 3-1 loss to the surging Phillies. The Marlins mustered only two hits off Kyle Kendrick, and none until rookie Rob Brantly singled to lead off the sixth.
And, with Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee set to take the mound for the Phillies the next two days, matters could get worse for the Marlins before they get better.
“The team looked different,” manager Ozzie Guillen said of the overnight potency change.
Justin Ruggiano struck out four times.
Giancarlo Stanton, a hitting terror on the road, went 0 for 4 and whiffed three times, once with the bases loaded. Stanton isn’t finding Citizens Bank Park to be as hitter-friendly as advertised.
Jose Reyes went hitless.
And on down the line it went. The Marlins scored their only run on Donovan Solano’s sacrifice fly in the seventh after Carlos Lee doubled to open the inning. Solano has now driven in one run in each of his past six straight games.
But there was nothing else for the Marlins to crow about at the plate. Kendrick, who is no Koufax, established a career high with eight strikeouts, this for a pitcher who has averaged 4.5 strikeouts per nine innings over the course of his six-year MLB career.
Kendrick whiffed five of the first seven batters he faced on Monday, though, and — between Ruggiano and Stanton alone — notched five strike outs.
Wade LeBlanc was not as successful as his counterpart. LeBlanc, thrust back into the starting mix after the Marlins decided to go with a six-man rotation to end the season, cruised through the first four innings unscathed. But after retiring 10 consecutive batters, he walked the leadoff hitter in the fifth just before giving up a two-run homer to Domonic Brown on a 3-1 pitch.
“Mistake number one was not being aggressive, nitpicking, and falling behind,” LeBlanc said of the at-bat with Brown. “Just left it belt-high, middle-in.”
Of the five home runs the southpaw has given up this season, all have been hit by left-handers.
“It’s frustrating because I should be able to at least keep those guys in the yard, and I haven’t been doing that,” LeBlanc said. “I have to try to figure out what I’m doing wrong and what I need to fix.”
The Phillies scored their other run later in the same inning when Michael Martinez scored from third on a two-out wild pitch. Guillen thought that Jimmy Rollins went around on the pitch for strike three. But home plate umpire Mike Winters ruled that Rollins checked his swing.
“I thought it was one of those that could have gone either way,” LeBlanc said. “I would have liked for him to say he went [around]. But, at the same time, I can’t really rely on umpires. I have to do my job.”
Rollins struck out on the next pitch.
But the main issue for the Marlins on Monday was their lack of hitting. The first four hitters in the lineup had only one hit, and that belonged to Bryan Petersen with a one-out single in the eighth off Phillies reliever Justin De Fratus.
“We did not swing the bat well [Monday] like we did over the weekend,” Guillen said.