Jarred Cosart gave every indication this spring he was ready for a bounce-back season.
It hasn’t come anywhere near what he and the Marlins had hoped through his first three starts.
Cosart struggled with his control from the outset Friday, giving up six runs in only 4 1/3 innings, which led to an 8-1 Marlins’ loss to the Giants at AT&T Park.
Cosart couldn’t get past the fifth inning for the second time in three starts as he walked six batters (two intentionally) for the second consecutive game. Cosart gave up eight hits and had only one strikeout as his ERA rose to 7.98 so far this season.
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“He’s just having trouble settling in it seems like, and having trouble finding the strike zone,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “He gets behind in the count and all of a sudden you’re in trouble. As much as anything it’s just trying to get him getting going early and he’s having trouble getting out of the gate.”
Cosart’s counterpart Jeff Samardzija was the complete opposite, producing both on the mound and at the plate to help the Giants (8-10) snap a five-game losing streak. The Marlins (5-10) continued to provide relief for ailing teams as the Giants had lost eight of their past nine games entering the series.
Samardzija went 2 for 4 and drove in three runs, and pitched 7 2/3 innings, allowing one run on six hits with no walks and five strikeouts.
Cosart went 2-5 last year with a 4.52 ERA in only 13 starts after bouts with vertigo cut his season short. This spring while working with Marlins new pitching coaches Juan Nieves and Jim Benedict on making some adjustments to his mechanics and delivery, Cosart did not give up a run in 9 2/3 innings and appeared to be turning the corner.
After Friday night’s outing, however, Cosart said he hasn’t felt comfortable with changes he has made with the position of his hands as he begins his delivery.
“I just didn’t have it,” Cosart said. “After all spring training, we thought it would be more beneficial to move my hands down. And I’m just kind of feeling out of sync and out of whack. I’m talking with [Nieves and Benedict] to see if I can go back to what was working. I just feel kind of out of sync, uncomfortable with all my pitches.
“We decided to make that change kind of as a group after my last start of spring training. We thought it would make things more fluid, more repeatable. I saw some results with it at the end of spring training in the exhibition game. Now I just feel like I have a lot of different moving parts and things that I’m thinking about and it just isn’t natural.”
Cosart allowed the leadoff hitter to reach base in each of the first five innings, and pitched to 21 of the 26 batters he faced out of the stretch.
The Giants took control quickly with three runs in the first – an inning in which they had scored only four runs in their first 17 games combined.
Cosart led off the next two innings with walks, but pitched his way out of trouble including a bases loaded jam in the third.
With his pitch count already up to 73, Cosart gave up a leadoff single in the fourth to Denard Span that he worked around thanks to a double play.
But in the fifth, the Giants made finally him pay after back-to-back singles by Buster Posey and Brandon Belt to start the inning. After Hunter Pence moved the runners into scoring position on a ground out, Cosart intentionally walked Brandon Crawford.
Samardzija delivered the final blow to Cosart himself with a run-scoring single to right.
“Obviously it’s not an excuse because I pitched well with it a couple times, but I think for the long haul I need to go back with something that feels comfortable,” Cosart said. “It was tough to just find the zone and find the comfort zone and find the arm slot. And I put us in a hole early.”
Frustrated with the strike zone called by home plate umpire Brian Gorman, Mattingly was thrown out of the game during Christian Yelich’s leadoff at-bat in the fourth inning.
“It was just a little frustration as much as anything,” Mattingly said. “It’s just 15 games now, and I know these guys don’t mean to, but it just feels like any kind of close call or big situation, there’s never a call that goes the Marlins’ way.”
With Yelich facing a 1-2 count, Gorman turned to the dugout and signaled the ejection. Mattingly walked calmly to the plate and talked to Gorman for a couple of minutes before returning to the dugout.
It was Mattingly’s first ejection as the Marlins’ skipper, and 21st time since first becoming a major league manager in 2011. Bench coach Tim Wallach managed the remainder of the game.
“I’ve seen it at home and I’ve seen it on the road and I saw it tonight,” Mattingly said. “We see Pagan had a 1-2 or 2-2 pitch is right there and he doesn’t call it. Then, we see [during] Dietrich’s at-bat which was big because we had first and second and one out and he called the same pitch for a strike.
“I think my frustration is more over just what’s going on with the Marlins. I know the umpires don’t do that on purpose, but it just seems like subconsciously that it’s ok to screw the Marlins.”
YELICH STAYS HOT
Yelich reached base for the 15th consecutive game to start the season and hit three doubles Friday, setting a career-high and tying the club record for doubles and extra-base hits in a game. Yelich scored the Marlins’ lone run of the game following his first double when Justin Bour followed a couple of batters later with a single to center.
Giants’ fans greeted Barry Bonds with two standing ovations in his return to San Francisco Friday night.
Bonds, in his first season as the Marlins’ hitting coach, turned in the team’s lineup card to the umpires pregame to cheers of “Barry, Barry, Barry.”
During the third inning, the Giants ran a montage of Bonds’ highlights invoking the same kind of adulation from the crowd. Afterward, the scoreboard showed a live shot of Bonds in the Marlins dugout with the words Forever Giant listed under his name.
Bonds stepped out of the dugout and tipped his cap to the crowd. He later patted his chest and blew a kiss to the fans.
PRADO ON PATERNITY
Martin Prado flew back to Miami Friday to be with his wife, who was having a baby. Mattingly said Prado would be placed on the paternity leave list.