If Ricky Nolasco pitched his final game for the Marlins on Friday, it probably wasn’t the way he wanted to go out.
Nolasco, who is at the center of intense trade speculation, was roughed up by the San Diego Padres in front of a crowd of 18,347, which included a larger-than-normal turnout of scouts on hand to evaluate his performance.
Their reports won’t be flattering.
Nolasco gave up six runs (five earned) while allowing a season-high 11 hits and was finished after failing to record an out in the sixth.
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The final result was a 9-2 loss to the Padres.
Perhaps more significantly, Nolasco didn’t enhance his trade value any for the Marlins, who could deal the veteran at any moment in advance of the July 31 trade deadline. The right-hander is eligible for free agency after the season, and the Marlins have no intention of re-signing him.
With trade speculation mounting, especially over the past week, Nolasco’s past two starts haven’t gone well. He yielded three runs on nine hits in only 5 2/3 innings in San Francisco last Friday. Added to Friday’s outing, Nolasco has now given up eight earned runs on 20 hits over his past 10 2/3 innings.
One of the teams reportedly interested in Nolasco: the same one that knocked him around Friday, the Padres.
The Dodgers, Giants and Orioles — among others — are also thought to be looking at him.
Friday’s pitching line, while hardly enticing for teams considering the 30-year-old right-hander, will likely be weighed against his overall consistency. In addition, it isn’t like there’s a wealth of starting pitching waiting to be had on this summer’s trade market.
Still, the Marlins surely would have preferred he turn in a better effort than he did Friday in order to sweeten any deals they could be considering.
Nolasco had only one clean inning — the fourth. Otherwise, the evening was a battle for him.
The trouble began for him in the second when he allowed Chase Headley to get a big jump at first and steal second with two outs. Will Venable followed with an RBI single to tie the score.
The Padres took the lead in the third on Logan Forsythe’s two-run homer.
It got really ugly for Nolasco in the sixth when, showing signs of fatigue after his pitch count hit triple digits, he gave up four successive base hits to start the inning, and the Padres scored three times to open a 6-2 lead. The 11 hits allowed by Nolasco were one more than he gave up on June 10 to Milwaukee. They were also the most he has allowed since giving up 12 hits to Colorado on Aug. 17, 2011.
While the Padres made simple work of Nolasco, the Marlins’ struggles against San Diego pitching continued. The Padres held the Marlins to a single run during a three-game series back in May.
The Marlins did only slightly better Friday against Edinson Volquez, managing to score but twice. One run came in the first on Logan Morrison’s RBI triple. The other came in the third on a Giancarlo Stanton double.
Former Marlins reliever Justin Miller was found dead Wednesday near his home in Palm Harbor, the Tampa Bay Times reported. No cause of death was given.
Miller, 35, spent seven seasons in the majors, compiling a record of 24-14 with a 4.82 ERA. He was a reliever for the Marlins in 2007 and ’08, appearing in 108 games and going 9-2 with a 3.90 ERA.
He last played in the majors in 2010 with the Dodgers.
Miller was perhaps best known for his tattoos. He had so many of them that in 2004 Major League Baseball required him to wear long sleeves after hitters complained his tattoos were a distraction to them.