The Marlins traded one starting pitcher Thursday — and squandered a gem from another who could also be dealt.
Dan Haren didn’t let the uncertainty distract him — as it did the past two days for now former teammates Mat Latos and Michael Morse — as he dueled with Nationals All-Star Max Scherzer.
Unfortunately for Haren, one mistake to Ryan Zimmerman was enough to send the Marlins and their weak-hitting lineup to their 60th defeat of the season after a 1-0 loss to the Nationals at Marlins Park.
Zimmerman’s solo home run over the left field fence in the second inning proved to be enough for the Nationals to shut down the Marlins, who managed only three hits — two by Christian Yelich.
“I made a few mistakes, but [the pitch to Zimmerman] was the worst of the day,” Haren said. “You can’t get away with that against them because they have a pretty good lineup.”
Haren, who fell to 7-7, has a 3.42 ERA and delivered his 14th start of the season in which he allowed three or fewer runs in six or more innings. On Thursday, Haren went six innings, allowed four hits, walked two and struck out four on 102 pitches.
A third hit by Yelich could potentially have tied the score in the sixth inning. But with runners on first and second and no outs, Yelich grounded into the 4-6-3 double play that ended the Marlins’ most promising scoring threat.
“We knew it was going to be a low scoring game and you hope you can take advantage of those opportunities,” Marlins manager Dan Jennings said. “It didn’t work out today.”
Since Wednesday afternoon, heightened speculation shrouded the Marlins clubhouse as Mat Latos and Michael Morse were each rumored to have been traded to the Dodgers — a deal finalized shortly after Thursday’s game.
“It’s always hard, but I’ve dealt with it before,” Haren said. “It’s tough for these guys going through it. It’s been a crazy few days. Part of it is social media. Nowadays things gain traction sometimes even if they’re not true or not 100 percent complete. It’s the world we live in now.”
Marlins president of baseball operations Mike Hill said the team would continue to consider any potential trade offers until Friday’s deadline, but expressed his regret for the circumstances that kept Latos and Morse in suspense while the trade was delayed.
“I wish there could be a different way because these guys are human beings and they have emotions so they feel it when they hear their names out there,” Hill said. “It’s unfortunate when something like this happens. I know I try to minimize it as much as possible and I hope as an industry we can minimize it.”
In the waning moments of the game, reports the trade had been finalized boomed on social media and online.
Latos and Morse, however, didn’t leave the dugout as happens often when trades are finalized.
Morse even pinch-hit and ended his disappointing stint in a Marlins uniform with a strikeout against Jonathan Papelbon to end the game.
“It was definitely weird,” Morse said before getting the news moments later he had officially been traded.
With two vacant roster spots following the trade, Hill said Donovan Solano would be reinstated from the paternity list Friday, and that the team would discuss how to fill the other. Hill also said the team hadn’t named a starting pitcher for Saturday, when Latos was originally scheduled to make his next start.
▪ Friday: Marlins RHP David Phelps (4-7, 3.86 ERA) vs. Padres RHP Ian Kennedy (6-9, 4.58), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
▪ Saturday: Marlins TBA vs. Padres RHP Odrisamer Despaigne (4-7, 4.76), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.