Something didn’t feel right.
Over and over during Miami’s game against Houston on Wednesday, the Marlins just couldn’t quite make plays when they needed to. There was a drop here. A strikeout there. A miscommunication somewhere else.
And by the end, it all piled up and cost Miami in a 3-0 loss to the Astros, giving Houston the sweep and plummeting the Marlins further into the abyss.
Miami (14-25) has now lost 17 of its last 21 games and sits in last place in the National League East. Wednesday’s loss also wrapped up a 1-8 homestand for the Marlins.
“I think I’ve described the state of things over the last few games,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said when asked about the team’s mood. “Today’s game didn’t go the way we wanted it.”
Wednesday’s miscues started in the first inning when Houston leadoff hitter George Springer sliced a ball toward Giancarlo Stanton.
Stanton raced after the liner. He jumped for it. But it jetted past his outstretched glove.
Two batters later, second baseman Jose Altuve hit a grounder that nipped the glove of Miami third baseman Derek Dietrich, trickling slowly into left field and allowing Springer to score.
The Marlins were primed to get that run back in the bottom of the first when they loaded the bases, but Dietrich grounded out to end the threat.
Then there was the sixth inning. Trailing by one, Miami second baseman Dee Gordon got to third with No. 2-hitter Christian Yelich at the plate.
Yelich struck out swinging.
There was also the sixth inning, when Gordon fielded a routine ground ball and tossed it to shortstop J.T. Riddle for the forceout at second base. The throw was low, the runner was safe and the Astros had the bases loaded.
Springer then smacked a ground ball inches under the glove of Miami first baseman Justin Bour to pad his team’s lead.
“I didn’t make the right play,” Gordon said, “and it’s my fault we lost the game.”
Finally, in bottom of the sixth, Miami got a break.
Springer misjudged a Stanton liner, allowing the ball to reach the wall, Stanton to reach second base and the Marlins to have runners on second and third with one out.
Dietrich struck out.
Catcher A.J. Ellis grounded out.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been through one quite like this,” Mattingly said of his team’s bad breaks and stretch of losses. He also plainly admitted he’s running out of things to tell his players.
“We’ve said it all,” he said. “There’s nothing really to say at this point.”
On the mound, starter Jose Urena did give the Marlins 5.2 innings, which they needed after using four relievers on Tuesday. Urena allowed six hits and one earned run.
“Jose was keeping us right in the game,” Mattingly said.
The bullpen was also effective. The quartet of Jarlin Garcia, Kyle Barraclough, Brad Ziegler and Brian Ellington tossed a combined 3.1 scoreless innings.
But the strong pitching wasn’t enough to compensate for an offense that managed three hits en route to being shut out.
After the game, everything about the Marlins was quiet. First there was Mattingly, who said there’s nothing left to say. And then there was the Marlins locker room.
Players fiddled with their lockers, making occasional clicks and scuffs by shuffling items around, but no one spoke until reporters approached Dee Gordon.
After blaming himself for Wednesday’s loss, he diagnosed the state of the team.
“It can’t get no worse than what it is,” he said. “We’re already losing. So we’ve just gotta find a way to get a win.”