Odrisamer Despaigne nearly pulled off a rare pitching doubleheader of sorts on Saturday.
With the Marlins’ bullpen depleted, Despaigne threw 11 pitches in relief early Saturday morning and picked up the victory when Miami completed a 2-1 walk-off win in 17 innings over the Chicago Cubs.
Despaigne didn’t hesitate when asked if he could go back out there on Saturday night and try to get the job done again out of his planned turn in the rotation.
But following a rough fifth inning in which he gave up three runs, Despaigne couldn’t secure a second win in less than 24 hours despite a nearly Marlins’ comeback that eventually ended with a 10-6 loss in 10 innings to the Cubs.
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Despaigne, who turns 31 on Wednesday, became the first pitcher since Erasmo Ramirez for the Tampa Bay Rays on May 28-29 to finish a game and start his team’s next game according to Elias.
Despaigne gave up five runs (four earned) on six hits and two walks and struck out six and finished with a no-decision.
Despaigne, however, failed to become the first pitcher since Tom Seaver to win two of his team’s games in a row according to Elias. Seaver accomplished the feat with the White Sox on May 8-9, 1984.
"I went out there to do my job," Despaigne said. "I told him I was good to go. We couldn’t make history but we went out there and we fought."
Despaigne, who has experience both as a reliever and starter during his five-year major-league career, was a perfect candidate to pull off the rare feat and give the Marlins pitching staff a lift after 27 combined innings in barely over a day.
Claimed off waivers in September 2016 by the Marlins, Despaigne began his career as a starter for the Padres and made 34 starts from 2014-15. He was then moved to the bullpen and eventually traded to the Baltimore Orioles where he pitched in the same capacity.
Despaigne earned one of three spots in the Marlins’ rotation after Jose Urena and Dan Straily that weren’t decided until late in spring training.
But after the Marlins used six relievers in Friday night’s marathon game, they tabbed Despaigne to pitch the 17th inning, and he delivered a perfect frame setting up the team’s walk-off win.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly said prior to Saturday’s game he had no pitch or innings restriction planned for Despaigne.
"Probably people looked at it differently, but we know Odrisamer enough to know that this was not a stretch for him," Mattingly said. "It was not something that he was in any harm’s way of doing anything differently than he does all the time. He pretty much did what we expected. I knew his stuff would be good today."
Despaigne retired his first three batters in order on 10 pitches in the first.
But in the second, Despaigne gave up a pair of runs on a two-run homer by Kyle Schwarber - his second of the series.
After two solid innings, Despaigne ran into more trouble after issuing his only two walks of the game to Ian Happ and Kris Bryant setting up Anthony Rizzo’s two-out, bases clearing double to right field that was aided by a fielding error by Cameron Maybin.
The Marlins answered with three runs in the bottom half of the fifth, but couldn’t take the lead and therefore make Despaigne eligible once again for the win.
"This team is going to fight," Despaigne said. "The youth has a lot of energy and that’s how we’re going to approach every game."