As a helpless Jose Fernandez watched the Mets go to town on Brad Penny from the dugout on Tuesday, it was hard not to be reminded of how unsuccessful the Marlins have been in their search for someone to fill his shoes -- or even just one of them.
Anthony DeSclafani wasn’t the answer.
Randy Wolf wasn’t the solution.
Andrew Heaney, Kevin Slowey and Brad Hand didn’t step up, either.
Now Penny’s name can be added to the list.
The 36-year-old pitcher was roughed up by the Mets in New York’s 8-6 victory over the Marlins, knocked out after three innings. Penny was done after he gave up four runs on seven hits.
Whether Penny receives another chance remains to be seen.
“We’ve tried to find somebody to step in that role and take that spot,” manager Mike Redmond said. “We knew when Jose went down that was going to be a tough spot [to replace]. I don’t know that any of us imagined it would be as hard as it has been to find somebody to eat those innings. But it has.”
On a night when Giancarlo Stanton continued his assault on the Marlins’ record books, belting his 35th home run and crossing the 100-RBI milestone with his 100th and 101st, the Marlins’ pitching staff was decimated by the Mets, who racked up 16 hits.
With a blast that struck the Home Run Sculpture, Stanton joined Gary Sheffield as the only Marlins to hit at least 35 homers and drive in 100 runs in a season. Sheffield had a team-record 42 homers and put up 120 RBI in 1996 for the Marlins.
But Stanton’s 2-run poke only made the losing margin smaller.
Tuesday marked the second straight day manager Mike Redmond had to go to his bullpen early. On Monday, he took out Henderson Alvarez in the third with an oblique injury.
For Penny, the poor outing was a damaging blow to his comeback attempt. In five games for the Marlins, including a pair in relief, Penny has give up 12 runs in 16 1/3 innings for a 6.61 ERA.
On Tuesday, the Mets got to him quickly, coming up with two runs in the first on four singles, then adding two more runs in the second inning on three hits, including a pair of doubles from Juan Lagares and David Wright.
“Just look like he didn’t have it,” Redmond said. “To go down 4-0 in the second inning, that makes it tough.”
Said Penny: “I left the ball up a little bit. Leave the ball up, you give up hits. That’s what happened tonight. (Stinks) going out there and giving up those runs early. It doesn’t give your team a very good chance to win.”
Matters didn’t improve any for the Marlins after DeSclafani took over in the fourth. DeSclafani, who was called up earlier in the day Tuesday from Triple A New Orleans, gave up three runs in the fourth as the Mets kept up their assault.
Lagares and Wright each had three hits and a pair of RBI within the first four innings, and Lagares finished the game with a career-high four hits to go with a walk.
“We were reeling from the (first) inning on,” Redmond said.
Relievers Carter Capps and Dan Jennings also saw action for the first time in a while. Capps worked 1 2/3 innings in his first relief outing for the Marlins since an elbow injury put him on the shelf in June.
And Jennings turned in two scoreless innings for the Marlins in his first outing since Aug. 7 when he was struck in the head by a line drive in Pittsburgh.
But the Marlins couldn’t make up for the hole Penny and DeSclafani put them in when they combined to give up seven runs in the first four innings.
The Marlins trimmed the deficit to one run on Stanton’s homer, only for DeSclafani to give all three runs back in the fourth. Two more runs for the Marlins in the fourth cut the gap to 7-5.
But the Mets would never allow the Marlins to get any closer, evening the series at a game a piece.