When he took the mound for them Wednesday, Chris Narveson became Exhibit A in the wreck this season has become for the Marlins, who are scrambling to locate able arms to get them to the finish.
Nothing against Narveson. He was once a rotation fixture in the majors.
But the 33-year-old became the 13th different starting pitcher used by the Marlins, equaling a team record. Narveson was taking the slot belonging to Kendry Flores, who had replaced David Phelps, who had replaced Henderson Alvarez — the Marlins' Opening Day starter — as one after another fell by the wayside with injury.
“There’s no way that you can prepare for this,” manager Dan Jennings said of the endless succession. “You truly cannot prepare what we've had to endure.”
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The suffering continued Wednesday at Marlins Park.
Narveson was pelted from the outset by the Pirates in a 7-2 loss, giving up seven runs in the first two innings — including a six-spot in the second inning alone. He was done before he could get through the fourth.
“I think I was a little amped up, trying to do a little too much, and obviously left some balls up,” Narveson said. “Unfortunately, if you take that second inning away, we’re right in the game.”
Before the end of the season, the Marlins expect to get back Jose Fernandez and Jarred Cosart from the disabled list.
Until that happens, though, they are dealing with a hodgepodge collection of starters, including a pair of rookies and four lefties. Never before have the Marlins had that many southpaws in their rotation at once.
Three of the non-injured starters — and two on the disabled list — spent the better portion of the season in the minors. That has led to a trickle-down effect on the farm system. The New Orleans Zephyrs, the Marlins’ Triple A affiliate, recently endured a 15-game losing streak.
“It’s been unfair, because they [the Marlins' minor league coaches] wake up everyday not knowing who is their starter tonight,” Jennings said. “He may be on his way to Miami. When we’ve had the number of injuries we’ve had, we’ve had to pull from those Triple A guys, and that pulls from Double A. Sometimes it makes guys go to a level before they’re ready to be there.”
Narveson hadn’t started a game in the majors since 2012, and the layoff showed Wednesday. The Pirates roughed him up, with MVP candidate Andrew McCuthchen causing him the most grief. McCutchen drove in a run in the first with the first of four Pittsburgh doubles off Narveson, and three more in the second on his 20th home run of the season.
Though Martin Prado put the Marlins on the board with a solo home run in the first and added another run in the second, the hole was much too deep to crawl out of.
Erik Cordier took over for Narveson in the fourth and gave the Marlins 3 1/3 scoreless innings without allowing a hit. Scott McGough added two more scoreless innings out of the Marlins bullpen.
Gordon gets break
The Marlins certainly don’t mind Dee Gordon flaunting his speed, which he did to the tune of four stolen bases on Tuesday.
Neither do they want him running out of gas from overuse.
As a result, Gordon — the majors' leading hitter — wasn’t in the lineup Wednesday, the object being to keep him fresh to the end of the season. Jennings gave Gordon advance notice of his plans several days earlier.
▪ The Marlins have not had a pitcher throw a complete game since June 4 of last season, a stretch of 230 straight games. The club record is 301 straight games without a complete game (from Sept. 17, 2006, to Aug. 17, 2008).
▪ Thursday: Marlins LHP Justin Nicolino (2-1, 3.77) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole (14-7, 2.49), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
▪ Friday: Marlins LHP Adam Conley (1-1, 4.88) at Washington Nationals RHP Max Scherzer (11-10, 2.79), 7:05 p.m., Nationals Park.