On a day the Marlins announced they’d start taking a good look at one of their most promising pitching prospects, one of their struggling starters put together one of his better performances.
But 32-year old Wei-Yin Chen’s bounce back from one of his worst outings of the season went for naught as the Marlins couldn’t muster enough offense in a 2-1 defeat against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Marlins (32-49) reached the midway point of the season on pace to win 64 games, which would match their third-lowest output of victories in franchise history (not counting the strike-shortened 1994 season).
Chen put together his best outing in the month of June, giving up one run in six innings on five hits while striking out five and walking one.
"I feel fine lately because I didn't see the last two starts that different," Chen said via his translator. "Today, I pitched well but the pitcher on the other side pitched better than me."
The Marlins entered the ninth inning trailing 2-0, however, after Daniel Descalso added to Arizona’s lead in the eighth with a solo homer off Adam Conley.
Starlin Castro led off the bottom of the inning with a solo homer off Diamondbacks closer Brad Boxberger. Brian Anderson followed with a walk. After Boxberger struck out pinch-hitting Justin Bour, Anderson reached second on a wild pitch but Brinson grounded out to short. Boxberger recorded his 19th save of the season when Derek Dietrich flew out to right field.
Chen, the highest-paid player on the Marlins’ active roster, was coming off a poor start last Friday in Colorado where he gave up seven runs on nine hits in four innings and watched his ERA balloon to 6.70.
Chen continues to have drastically better results at Marlins Park compared to his starts on the road. At home Chen has a 2.31 ERA in five starts, allowing seven earned runs (two home runs) on 21 hits with 22 strikeouts and 12 walks. Away from Miami, Chen has a 9.85 ERA in seven starts (28 1/3 innings), allowing 31 earned runs (eight home runs) on 44 hits with 19 strikeouts and 13 walks.
"I try to stay consistent as I could, but maybe there's something I can't control on the road," Chen said. "I will try to find out the reason and try to be more consistent."
Chen only gave up an infield single through the first four innings. But the Diamondbacks led off the fifth with a double by Ketel Marte and a single by Chris Owings to break the stalemate.
The damage could have been worse had Brinson not recorded his first career outfield assist on a great throw to the plate that retired Owings as he tried to score on a single by Plantation American Heritage alum Deven Marrero.
"That really helped me settle down and help us stay in the game," Chen said. "That was a huge play."
Arizona starter Robbie Ray, who allowed two hits over six innings while striking out six and walking two.
"I think he's pretty good and he's got a funky motion out there on the mound and that's why I think we kept swinging at that slider in the dirt," Castro said.
Castro has hit safely in eight of his past 10 games after going through a 5-for-38 stretch over his previous nine.
The Marlins are likely to have rookies start their next three games as Trevor Richards will pitch Thursday to close their series with Arizona, Sandy Alcantara will make his team debut Friday and Pablo Lopez is expected to be called up to start Saturday.