A change of scenery in a different time zone wasn’t a pick-me-up for the Marlins.
After losing eight out of nine at Marlins Park, the Marlins hit the West Coast hoping for better results. They didn’t come on Thursday.
Edinson Volquez was knocked around early in a 7-2 loss to the Dodgers as the Marlins continued their nosedive in a season that’s fast turning to ruin. And it’s only May. The Marlins have now lost 18 of their past 22 games. The only lousier 22-game stretch in team history was a 3-19 run by the abysmal 1998 team.
It was yet another poor outing for Volquez, who was the team’s signature offseason signing. Volquez is now 0-6, leaving him one loss away from becoming just the second starting pitcher to begin his Marlins career by losing his first seven decisions. Joe Fontenot of the 108-loss team in ‘98 was the other.
“I just haven’t pitched the way I’m supposed to pitch here,” Volquez said. “It’s really frustrating for me to be 0-6.”
The Dodgers struck quickly, loading the bases on three successive singles within Volquez’s first eight pitches, before scoring the game’s first run.
Justin Bour tied it in the second with a solo shot off Hyun-Jin Ryu. After going his first 123 big-league at bats without a home run against left-handed pitching, Bour has now hit two in the past week off a southpaw. But the Dodgers came up with three runs in the second on Yasiel Puig’s two-run homer and Chase Utley’s RBI single.
“I made the mistake with Puig,” Volquez said. “I’m trying to go inside and the ball is going to the middle. He’s a good hitter. He put a pretty good swing on the ball. We lost the game right there. The game was 1-1, and the homer scored two more runs, and that was it.”
After Christian Yelich homered off Ryu in the third, the Dodgers answered in their half of the inning on an Adrian Gonzalez RBI single.
Volquez managed to make it through six innings, sparing the Marlins’ taxed bullpen. But it was not a vintage performance by the veteran. Volquez gave up eight hits, walked three (one intentional) and hit a batter — Ryu, his former Dodgers teammate and Thursday’s mount opponent. Ryu was hit in his right arm as he was squaring to bunt.
“He sent me picture,” Volquez said. “ He’s a good friend of mine. I said sorry and he sent me a picture.”
Marlins pitchers have hit at least one batter in 12 of the team’s past 13 games. That’s how it’s been going for a pitching staff that is now without three of its original five starters, with one demoted to the minors and two landing on the disabled list.
And a fourth — Volquez — who remains winless.
Matters didn’t improve in the eighth when Odrisamer Despaigne took the mound. He struggled to get through the inning, walking four batters while throwing only 18 of his 38 pitches for strikes. The Dodgers scored two runs off him.
And the Marlins got a taste of what could have been when Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen recorded a four-out save, striking out all four batters he faced and becoming the 79th pitcher in Major League history to complete an “immaculate” inning, striking out the side in the ninth on only nine pitches. The Marlins spent part of the offseason trying to sign the free agent pitcher, but to no avail. Jansen decided to remain with the Dodgers.
“Things aren’t going the way we want right now,” Volquez said.