How unsightly were the Marlins on Wednesday?
Even LeBron James gave up on them, leaving his front-row seat midway through a sloppy 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, a defeat in which they came within a scoring change of committing more fielding errors than any Marlins team has in three seasons.
As it was, the three errors were their most this season.
Given a glove to work with, James probably could have done a better job than some of the Marlins’ fielders, who have gone into a collective funk in recent days.
“We’re making way too many mistakes,” manager Mike Redmond said.
The flubs were a contributing factor in the Marlins’ second consecutive loss to the Dodgers, who scored three runs in a messy fourth inning in which Miami was charged with two errors.
Yasiel Puig was the beneficiary of the first of those, reaching on third baseman Ed Lucas’ throwing misfire before scoring on a Hanley Ramirez double. Ramirez later trotted home from third when Marlins pitcher Nathan Eovaldi threw wildly past first on a pickoff attempt.
Lucas was charged with a second error in the sixth when he couldn’t get the ball out of his glove quickly enough on Andre Ethier’s soft grounder and his throw to first was late. But the official scorer later changed the call to an infield hit.
Koyie Hill was also given an error on a catcher’s interference call in the first.
“We can’t make a lot of mistakes, we can’t make any mistakes, especially against such a good team,’’ Redmond said.
“[Wednesday night] we made a few, and they made us pay again.’’
All in all, it added up to another sluggish loss to a Dodgers team that is making the Marlins pay for their mistakes. In Tuesday’s 6-4 loss, it was a two-out walk to Dodgers pitcher Chris Capuano, an .048 hitter, and a two-error night by Adeiny Hechavarria that ended up costing them. That and a Puig homer late in the game.
The only ball that left the park on Wednesday night was struck by Giancarlo Stanton, who put the Marlins on top with a solo shot in the first inning for his 16th home run of the season.
But the Marlins did little offensively after that against Dodgers starter Zack Greinke, went eight innings and improved to 12-3 with the win.
It doesn’t get any easier on Thursday for the Marlins, when they close out the series with the Dodgers against perhaps the premier pitcher in the National League, Clayton Kershaw.
Lucas was not at all happy over his failure to come through with a sacrifice bunt in Tuesday’s seventh inning with runners at first and second and no outs in what was then a tie game.
Lucas not only failed in two attempts to drop down the bunt but also grounded into a double play when he was forced to swing away with two strikes. Lucas was a perfect 4 for 4 with the Marlins on sacrifice-bunt attempts before that, and even better — “99 out of 99,’’ he said — when you include the minors.
“That’s the first one I think I haven’t gotten down in a really, really, really long time,’’ he said. “I just got a little anxious, trying to make sure I hit it toward third base, instead of just relaxing. I kind of jabbed at it a little bit. There’s really no excuse for that.”
So what was reliever Dan Jenning’s take on the pitch he threw to Yasiel Puig, which hit the top of the wall in left and bounced over for the go-ahead blast in Tuesday’s eighth inning?
“I threw him a [fastball] that was down in the zone, and I still stand by the pitch. It was a good pitch,’’ said Jennings, who had not given up a home run all season until Puig took him deep.
“There aren’t a ton of low-ball hitters in the game. He swings at first pitches. I understand that. But that being his first at bat of the day — the first pitch he saw — he was hacking at it. I’ve gone back over it. I’ve looked at it. It happens.’’
Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria was charged with two errors Tuesday, bringing his season total to 13.
But his defense of late has been especially poor, a sharp departure from earlier in the season when it seemed like he was making every play that came to him.
Hechavarria was charged with seven errors over his first 112 games. Over the past 12: a whopping six. So who is the real Hechavarria defensively?
“The guy we saw earlier,’’ said Hechavarria’s staunchest supporter, Marlins infield coach Perry Hill. “He’s trying to make plays to get us out of jams. I mean, you don’t want him to become passive and take away his aggressiveness. That’s what makes him so good.’’
Nicolino went 5-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 18 starts for Single A Jupiter before his promotion to Double A Jacksonville. The left-hander struck out 64 and walked 18 in 96 2/3 innings for the Hammerheads.
Coming upThursday Friday Scouting report