The ninth inning has been far from the only sore spot with the Marlins this season. But it has been one of the most glaring ones.
From Steve Cishek to A.J. Ramos, the team has failed to locate a lockdown closer who consistently shuts the door.
The latest meltdown came Sunday when Ramos gave up a tying, two-run homer to little Alexi Amarista. Though Ramos backed into the win after Adeiny Hechavarria won the game with his walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth, it was the fifth blown save for Ramos.
That tied him for the major-league lead in blown saves with seven others, including Cishek.
“It’s the toughest three outs to get in the game,” manager Dan Jennings said. “Even the great ones not named Mariano Rivera, they’re going to blow three to seven somewhere in that mixture. You just don’t know when it’s going to occur. If it happens back-to-back, or close together, then it seems to sting a little more.”
Jennings spoke privately with Ramos on Monday, assuring him he would remain in that role despite a recent rough patch. In his seven outings since the All-Star break, Ramos has two blown saves, a loss on Friday in which he was charged with four earned runs, and a white-knuckle save in Arizona in which he struck out three straight to end the game after the Diamondbacks loaded the bases.
“I hope we get in that [save] situation tonight because he’s going to get the ball,” Jennings told reporters before Monday’s game. “We have full confidence in him to do that job. I just told him if the phone rings in the ninth inning, it will be for you.”
CAPPS GOES ON DL
The Marlins placed set-up reliever Carter Capps on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow strain but don’t believe the injury to be so serious that he’ll be out any longer than that.
“I think it’s mostly precautionary,” Capps said, adding that he expects to begin throwing again in a few days.
Capps, who came out of Sunday’s game complaining of tightness in his right arm, underwent an arthrogram Monday. That procedure requires three to four days of complete rest.
With Capps out for at least that long, the Marlins decided to place him on the DL and bring in relief help, rather than go with a short-handed bullpen. Right-handed reliever Brian Ellington was called up from Triple A New Orleans.
“Hopefully for Carter it’s the minimum 15 days and he can be back,” Jennings said. “He’s having such a phenomenal year. The other day we were sitting here looking at his numbers that they posted on the scoreboard, and it’s Nintendo numbers, really crazy numbers.”
CATCHER CALLED UP
The Marlins on Monday also called up catcher Tomas Telis, whom they acquired Friday from Texas in a trade deadline deal for reliever Sam Dyson. Telis was supposed to join the team Saturday, one day after the trade, but remained in the minors when the Marlins opted to call up two relievers (Chris Reed and Adam Conley) to help get through the weekend.
To make room for Telis, the Marlins optioned infielder Donovan Solano to New Orleans.
▪ Tuesday: Marlins LHP Brad Hand (1-2, 5.12) vs. New York Mets LHP Jonathon Niese (5-9, 3.63), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
▪ Wednesday: Marlins RHP David Phelps (4-7, 3.93) vs. New York Mets RHP Matt Harvey (9-7, 2.91), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.