Air was leaking from Wei-Yin Chen's balloon.
Or at least that's how Don Mattingly apparently saw things Thursday when he lifted Chen only 47 pitches into a short-lived outing that culminated in the Marlins' third straight loss, an 8-3 defeat to the Padres.
When Chen ran into trouble in the second inning, Mattingly wasted no time going out to get his pitcher, something he's said he's more prone to do with Chen than he is with his other starters. Mattingly said earlier this month when the spots the air leaking from Chen's balloon, "it comes out fast."
Mattingly decided rather than to wait for it to fully deflate, it was time to take him out.
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For Chen, who has been pitching better of late, it was a better night for him at the plate than it was on the mound. While he drove in the first runs of his career, it was a different story for him throwing the baseball.
While there was nothing noticeably amiss with Chen physically or his fastball velocity,Mattingly apparently figured the pitcher had hit a wall.
After giving up a two-run homer in the first to Christian Villanueva, Chen ran into trouble again in the second. He issued a pair of two-out walks, including one to Padres pitcher Jordan Lyles. Eric Hosmer made him pay for those with a two-run double that put the Padres on top for good. Chen didn't throw another pitch after that as Mattingly handed the ball over to Odrisamer Despaigne.
Chen did manage, however, to drive in a pair of runs with a two-out single off Lyles in the first. But those were of small consolation given the brevity of his outing.
Despaigne worked 4 1/3 innings of relief, allowing three runs in the fifth as the Padres stretched their lead.
Scoring wise, tt was another quiet night offensively for the Marlins, who won the first game of the series before losing three straight to the last-place Padres. Derek Dietrich belted a solo homer in the eighth and the Marlins matched the Padres in hits with 10. But the Padres put theirs to better use.