Home runs aren’t flying off Giancarlo Stanton’s bat these days. They are, however, bouncing off his glove.
Stanton had a hand (literally) in a Brewers home run Saturday when Jonathan Lucroy’s long fly ball struck the heel of his glove, causing it to plop over the fence.
The weird homer — straight off a comedy reel — was no laughing matter for the Marlins, who took it on the chin for a second consecutive day to a team that is only marginally better record-wise.
“That’s kind of the way it’s gone for us the last two days,” manager Mike Redmond said of the blooper play after the Marlins suffered a 6-0 defeat for their second shutout loss in a row.
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Said Stanton, referring to a more infamous blunder from the past: “At least it wasn’t off my head like [Jose] Canseco.”
Coupled with Friday’s 2-0 setback, the Marlins haven’t scored since before the All-Star break on July 14, a stretch of 24 scoreless innings. The team record is 30 consecutive innings without a run, set last season. The last time they were blanked in back-to-back games: the first two games of this season.
“I didn’t expect us to come out these two days and play like this,” Redmond said. “I thought we’d come out energized and ready to go, and we got the exact opposite, and for me that’s unacceptable.”
The Marlins’ bats look like they’re still on snooze following the break.
They managed only six hits Friday, with half belonging to Adeiny Hechavarria. With Hechavarria moving to the leadoff spot Saturday in an attempt to spark the offense, the Marlins remained asleep at the plate, cranking out just five harmless hits.
“We need to turn it up a notch,” Redmond said. “We played pretty good baseball the last six weeks, and this is not us. The last two days, that’s not the Fish.”
On the other hand, it would have taken quite a bit to overcome the Brewers, who went to town on Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi.
Eovaldi told reporters he spent the break at the Zoological Wildlife Foundation in Miami and described how he was allowed to hold and pet a bear, a monkey and a Siberian tiger without incident.
But the Brewers ripped him to shreds.
Eovaldi gave up hits — and a pair of runs — to the first four batters he faced and was knocked out after giving up three more runs in the fourth. In between, he also gave up the Stanton-assisted home run to Lucroy.
Stanton drifted back to the wall on the long fly ball and reached up with his glove to make the catch. Instead, the ball struck the heel, deflecting it over the wall for Lucroy’s 14th homer. The ball would not have gone out had Stanton not gotten his glove on it.
“It could have changed the game,” Stanton said. “We still played [lousy], but little things like that are momentum changers.”
It all added up to a brutal night for all involved, most of all Eovaldi, who labored through his worst outing of the season.
The six runs were the most he had given up since Aug. 2 in what was his second-ever start with the Marlins, and the 10 hits were the most allowed by him since June 25 of last season when he was still with the Dodgers.
The performance was one of the few lousy ones by a Marlins starter in recent weeks, only the fourth over the past 28 games in which a starter gave up more than three runs. Eovaldi’s early dismissal meant that the bullpen was forced to cover four innings.
For their part, the Marlins remained stuck in neutral offensively. Perhaps the throwback uniforms they wore as part of the Brewers’ Negro League Tribute were fitting, harkening back to the dead-ball era.
Entering Saturday, the last time a Marlins runner touched home plate was in the fourth inning of a 10-inning loss to Washington on July 14. Coupled with a shutout loss Friday and Saturday’s defeat, they are threatening their club mark for scoring futility.
They were not without their chances.
They had the bases loaded in the sixth with one out. But Logan Morrison swung at the first pitch from Yovanni Gallardi and grounded into a double play. In the seventh, the Marlins had runners at first and third with one out. But reliever Brandon Kintzler retired Jeff Mathis on an infield pop and whiffed Juan Pierre.
“We’re getting completely shut down,” Redmond said.