One day after the Marlins wrapped up a busy week of trading, they discovered that replacing those who were peddled elsewhere could be a patience-testing challenge.
The first to get a crack was Jose Urena, an unpolished rookie who was summoned from the minors to fill the empty rotation spot belonging to Mat Latos, who was traded on Thursday.
Urena’s big moment wasn’t memorable.
The Padres gave the 23-year-old an outing to forget, chasing him after five humbling innings in a 5-3 victory Saturday night at Marlins Park while lowering Urena’s record to 1-5.
Urena ranks as one of the top prospects in the Marlins’ talent-thin farm system and, despite Saturday’s shaky effort, will likely receive more opportunities to prove himself as the front office uses the final two months to conduct auditions for 2016.
But he has yet to translate his minor-league success (6-1, 2.66 ERA at Triple A New Orleans this season) to the big-league level.
“I’d say that’s the biggest thing I’m focusing on,” Urena said through a translator afterward. “It’s carrying over what I’m doing in New Orleans to the majors. It’s a different ballgame up here. That’s the biggest thing, is carrying what you do in Triple A and bring it with you to here. Whatever you do well in Triple A, bring it up to the majors.”
One way or the other, the Marlins still plan on going after one or two starters over the winter to supplement a rotation that, beyond Jose Fernandez and the under-recognized Tom Koehler, is now suspect because of uncertainty with Jarred Cosart and Henderson Alvarez.
Urena could squeeze himself into that rotation, too.
But he will have to show more than he did Saturday, when the Padres pounced on him early, and not with soft hits. The Padres made good on Yangervis Solarte’s first-inning double when Justin Upton’s sacrifice fly brought him home for a 1-0 lead.
After a clean second inning, Urena was peppered with five Padres hits in a four-run third, which included an RBI triple by Solarte and a two-run double by Derek Norris.
“He couldn’t seem to get his rhythm to get in the strike zone,” Marlins manager Dan Jennings said. “That third inning, he just missed location too much, and they were able to eliminate other pitches and just sit fastball on him, and they did their damage.”
One of the runs was unearned, the result of an error by Derek Dietrich, an infielder who is receiving on-the-job training in left field as the Marlins await the return of the injured Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna, who remains mired at Triple A.
Dietrich allowed Norris’ double, which rolled along the wall in foul territory, to get by him and enable Yonder Alonso to score from first. Dietrich is not exactly a Gold Glover even when he’s positioned in the infield, thrown into the lineup only to augment a lineup that has struggled throughout the season.
His two-out, game-tying homer in the ninth inning Friday off Padres All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel provided some proof of his punch, and Dietrich reached twice on Saturday on a night when baserunners were scarce for the Marlins early on against San Diego starting pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne.
The Marlins managed only a Cole Gillespie first-inning bloop single off Despaigne through the first four innings before finally getting on the board in the fifth on consecutive RBI singles by pinch-hitter Donovan Solano and Dee Gordon.
They added another run in the seventh to make it 5-3.
But the Marlins could draw no closer, suffering their fifth loss in a row to the Padres. It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the Marlins, who threw in the towel on the season by trading five players from their Opening Day roster and releasing another.
They have lost four in a row and are 4-11 since the All-Star break, drifting precariously close to the National League East cellar and the worst overall record in the majors. They now sit just 11/2 games ahead of last-place Philadelphia.
Two line jose head
Three lines here teasing to marlnotes about jose going for home wins record, XD