It wasn’t entirely Edinson Volquez’s fault that he put his name in the Marlins’ record books on Wednesday afternoon. Volquez became the second starting pitcher to open his career with the Marlins by losing his first seven decisions.
Athletics starter Sonny Gray was primarily responsible for making Volquez sink to 0-7, equaling the record held by Joe Fontenot of the 1998 Marlins. Gray dominated the Marlins, striking out 11 in Oakland’s 4-1 victory.
“Hopefully, I can win one game before the season is over,” Volquez said.
His elusive first Marlins win didn’t come Wednesday, and not because he pitched poorly. Volquez didn’t pitch great, either. But at least he looked better on the mound than he has in some of his other starts.
What cost him were a pair of big two-out hits: a Khris Davis two-run homer in the first and Jed Lowrie’s RBI double in the fifth. Volquez didn’t think the Davis home run was going out.
“I forgot how strong he is,” Volquez said. “I started walking back to the dugout and saw the ball just carry all the way to the fence. [I thought], wow, this guy is really strong.”
Still, Volquez kept the Marlins in it over his six innings.
But he was no match for Gray, who prevented the Marlins from posting back-to-back wins for the first time since April 22-23. One day after the Marlins erupted for 11 runs on a season-high 19 hits, their bats turned quiet.
“We just weren’t able to help him out [Wednesday],” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Volquez. “We really weren’t able to get anything going. He kept us in the game and gave us a chance.”
Gray whiffed nine batters in the first four innings, and the Marlins scored their only run on a wild pitch. After Gray retired the first nine Marlins batters, six on strikeouts, he gave up a leadoff single to Dee Gordon in the fourth, followed by a Giancarlo Stanton single.
And when he struck out Marcell Ozuna, the ball bounced away from catcher Josh Phegley and Gordon raced in for what would be the Marlins’ only run. Gray then struck out Justin Bour and J.T. Realmuto to end the inning.
“I thought the first time through [the lineup], we helped him out a lot,” Mattingly said of Gray. “Obviously, a guy with sharp stuff you’re going to end up swinging at stuff. I think we swung out of the strike zone the first time through.”
The Marlins did little else offensively, leaving it up to Volquez to fend for himself. And with Gray dealing, he didn’t stand much of a chance.
“You’ve got to keep in mind, I’ve been facing aces for the other team,” Volquez said. “[Gray] did a pretty good job. He was really good.”
The Marlins gave Volquez a two-year deal over the winter, hoping he might soften the blow of losing Jose Fernandez from the rotation. But it hasn’t worked out that way so far. In addition to remaining winless, Volquez has a 4.82 ERA.
“When I signed here, I was hoping to be better than what I am right now,” Volquez said.
Then again, Volquez is hardly the only Marlin who is struggling. The team returned home to Miami with a record of 16-29, and Mattingly said he could find little to be positive about.
“I would say at this point we’re not really trending forward,” Mattingly said.