It’s as if the Marlins have been walking on a treadmill for two months, neither making headway nor losing ground.
Not going anywhere, really.
They lost 6-0 to the Diamondbacks on Sunday afternoon, dropping a second consecutive road series to an inferior opponent as they headed off to San Diego to face a third, the last-place Padres.
The Marlins (32-31) are now one game over .500 for the 10th time since April 30, when they were 12-11. While they haven’t slipped below .500 since then, neither have they shot forward in the other direction.
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But losing two out of three to the American League-worst Minnesota Twins and doing the same against the Diamondbacks wasn’t how the script was expected to play out for the Marlins on their three-city trip.
Sunday’s game was over early.
Unlike Saturday, when Jose Fernandez retired the first 17 batters before disintegrating, Adam Conley coughed up four runs in the first inning and a couple more along the way.
“It seemed like they kind of punched us early, and we just didn’t really get off the mat,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
“I think [Saturday night’s] game, and into this game, your momentum really comes from the starting pitcher. So [Saturday night’s] game is basically over. But when you give up four early, it’s like you can respond, but we just didn’t.”
Peter O’Brien, a University of Miami product, delivered the big blow for Arizona with a three-run homer off Conley in the first. It was the second home run of O’Brien’s career.
Mattingly said Conley’s pitch was down and in, right where O’Brien likes it.
“The pitch in the first, that’s a guy we don’t want to go down and in,” Mattingly said. “That gets them three quick.”
But Conley said he put the pitch in a spot where it was difficult for O’Brien to hit.
“Actually, I think it was a ball if he took it,” Conley said.
“It’s one thing to get a ball down there and hit it that hard. But to keep it fair, that’s impressive. If I had to throw the pitch again, I’d do it again.”
Conley, who has shown flashes of brilliance at times and growing pains at others, gave up a career-high 11 hits Sunday, managing to make it through just five innings.
He last won on May 16, six starts back.
Conley’s fastball velocity has diminished a couple of ticks, which could be part of the issue.
“The fastball didn’t have the life on it that it’s had at times, but I’m not concerned about it,” Conley said. “It’s one of those days; it didn’t go my way the whole time.”
But it didn’t really matter whether Conley gave up one run or six, as the lineup failed to produce against Diamondbacks starter Robbie Ray, who brought a 2-5 mark and a 5.14 ERA into Sunday.
Like Conley, Ray hadn’t won since May 16.
Yet he shut down the Marlins, holding them to three hits over 7 2/3 innings. For that matter, Ray alone had almost as many hits (two) as the Marlins managed as a team. Ray faced only two batters over the minimum.
The Marlins grounded into three double plays and failed to advance a runner into scoring position. Their three hits marked a season low.
Meanwhile, Giancarlo Stanton’s struggles continued. Stanton went 0 for 3 and is now just 11 for his past 98.
Diamondbacks pitchers had more hits (four) in the series than Stanton has totaled in his past eight games.