Life after Jose Fernandez hasn’t been pretty for the Marlins.
The first pitcher to replace the injured Fernandez in the rotation, Anthony DeSclafani, is already back in the minors after making only two starts.
The second, Randy Wolf, was ripped to shreds on Sunday by the Milwaukee Brewers in 7-1 loss that was over quickly. The Brewers jumped on Wolf for six runs on eight hits — five of them for extra bases — in the first three innings.
“Jose’s spot is going to be tough to fill,” acknowledged manager Mike Redmond following Sunday’s loss.
Whether Wolf receives a second chance to redeem himself is up in the air.
“We’ll see where it goes from here,” Redmond said. “I think we’re trying to figure that out, what’s going to be the best — if it’s bringing in a younger guy and letting him pitch, or continue to stay with Wolf to try to see if he can eat up some of those innings. That’s probably something we have to talk about and figure out going forward.”
Wolf said he was elevating pitches early, and the Brewers made him pay.
“It’s not the first time I’ve had a bad game,” Wolf said. “The only thing I take out of this game for the next is that things got better as the game went on.”
Indeed, Wolf retired eight of the final nine batters he faced. By then, though, the damage had already been done.
Ryan Braun doubled and tripled, and Jonathan Lucroy doubled twice — all within the first two innings — as Wolf’s first start for the Marlins was a bust from the outset.
Wolf, who was making his first start since September 2012, and his first since undergoing a second Tommy John operation, ended up hanging on for five innings while allowing six runs — four earned — on nine hits.
“I guess we weren’t really sure what to expect out of him,” Redmond said. “It was a grind, it was a struggle.”
Wolf didn’t receive much help from either his fielders or the Marlins’ offense, either.
Left fielder Christian Yelich overran Richie Weeks’ single in the first, and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria booted a grounder in the second. Both errors contributed to Brewers runs.
“I think I chalk this one up more to the fact that we come in after the first inning and we’re down 3-0 before we’ve even picked up a bat,” Redmond said of the lethargic defense. “Day games are tough. You’ve got to have a good tempo. You’ve got to have a quick pace. And you’ve got to get outs. So that pitcher is important. Because the quicker he gets us into the dugout and grab a bat, the better chance we have. And today that just didn’t happen.”
Offensively, it was a quiet day at the plate for the Marlins as Jimmy Nelson, Milwaukee’s top prospect, held Miami to five hits over 5 2/3 innings. Nelson was making only his second big-league start.
Nelson twice struck out Giancarlo Stanton on low-and-away sliders, and got the Marlins’ slugger on an infield pop up with the bases loaded to end the fifth.
“He was effectively wild,” Redmond said of Nelson. “It looked like he had some nice life to his fastball. We definitely had some opportunities to get to him and put some pressure on him. But it seemed like every time we had a chance, he buckled down and made some good pitches and was able to get out of it.”
The Marlins avoided being shut out for the third time this season when Marcell Ozuna homered to lead off the ninth against Francisco Rodriguez. It was Ozuna’s ninth home run.