Miami Marlins

Nathan Eovaldi’s struggles continue in Miami Marlins’ loss to Mets

Miami Marlins' Nathan Eovaldi delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, in New York.
Miami Marlins' Nathan Eovaldi delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, in New York. AP

The last time Nathan Eovaldi took the mound for the Marlins, his shortcomings became lost in the screaming headlines of a far more significant development: a baseball shattering the face of Giancarlo Stanton.

But there was nothing of note to obscure Eovaldi’s latest failure.

The Mets handed Eovaldi the loss in a 9-1 defeat for the Marlins, one that officially eliminated them from the National League East race (not that they were in the thick of it, exactly).

The struggling right-hander had another of his awful innings — the fourth on Tuesday — and it ended up resulting in yet another tally mark under the “L” on his won-loss ledger.

“Nate, obviously, didn’t give us the start we needed,” manager Mike Redmond said.

Eovaldi has a penchant for piling up losses. The latest setback was his sixth consecutive losing decision and left him with a career mark of 15-33. He has gone 1-8 with a 6.04 ERA in 12 starts since the All-Star break.

On Tuesday, he breezed through the first three innings, limiting the Mets to one base hit and no walks. But the Mets were not so kind to the pitcher the second time through the order.

The Mets ripped into Eovaldi, using three doubles to produce four runs, all coming with two outs. After Eovaldi allowed a one-out single and a walk in the fifth, Redmond took him out and brought in Brad Penny, who served up a three-run homer to Wilmer Flores.

Flores later hit a second homer off Penny, a two-run shot, and finished the game with six RBI.

Bartolo Colon didn’t exactly turn in a masterpiece for the Mets, more like a child’s finger painting. He gave up 12 hits, and the Marlins totaled 13 for the game. But the Marlins turned them into only one run.

It was only the second time in team history that they totaled as many as 13 hits while scoring one run or less. On Sept. 17, 2004, against Atlanta, they totaled only one run on 14 hits.

“We gave up big hits,” Redmond said “We had a lot of hits, but we didn’t get any big hits. They got their hits. They made them count. They put some balls in the seats.”

What the Marlins have been seeing out of Eovaldi can’t be helping his chances of retaining a spot in the rotation next season.

Since Eovaldi was obtained by the Marlins in the Hanley Ramirez trade with the Dodgers in 2012, he has gone 13-25 in 61 starts.

Henderson Alvarez, Jarred Cosart and Tom Koehler would appear to be locks for next year’s rotation, with Andrew Heaney and Brad Hand figuring to vie for spots and Jose Fernandez returning at some point next season, Eovaldi’s role is hazier.

Could the Marlins use him out of the bullpen?

Could they trade him?

Or do they continue giving him starts with the hope he figures it out?

Those are questions for the offseason, which is quickly approaching. They have only 12 games to go.

Even his immediate future is unclear. There’s a chance the Marlins could shut him down for the rest of the season.

“The ball seems to still be coming out of his hands,” Redmond said. “He’s making mistakes, and they’re making him pay. We’ll have to figure out where we go from here.”

Eovaldi said he doesn’t feel fatigued even though he has pitched a career-high number of innings: 1862/3.

“I still feel great,” Eovaldi said. “I don’t think it has anything to do with the innings. “I thought for the most part my off-speed pitches were there [Tuesday night]. I think it’s just executing pitches.”

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