The Marlins were having trouble scoring runs with Justin Bour. In their first game without him, there was no discernible difference.
Within hours after dealing their top slugger to the Philadelphia Phillies, the Marlins came up flat on Friday in a 6-2 loss to the New York Mets.
It was the Marlins’ ninth loss in their past 10 games, and an anemic offense has been the prime culprit in their downfall. They have scored three runs or fewer in nine of those 10 contests (their lone win in the drought was of the 2-1 variety) and Friday’s setback was their latest in a series of low-scoring duds.
It’s to the point that impact hitters have become the most glaring need for the Marlins going forward as they go about their rebuild, which continued Friday with the trade of Bour.
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“What’s been going over the last 12 months from the trade deadline last year up until this one has been pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching,” said Marlins manager Don Mattingly. “You’ve got to get pitching and I think we’re seeing some signs of that. You’re seeing signs of that showing up.”
Mattingly mentioned recent acquisitions Pablo Lopez, Sandy Alcantara, Trevor Richards and Caleb Smith as prime examples.
But the lineup needs help.
“What we look at now is position players next,” Mattingly said. “We need some guys who can impact.”
Mets starter Zack Wheeler made easy work of a lineup that has scored the fewest runs in the National League, holding the Marlins to a pair of runs that both came on Miguel Rojas’ two-out homer in the seventh. Wheeler allowed four hits total and didn’t surrender his first hit until Martin Prado singled to lead off the fifth.
The same could not be said of Jose Urena (3-12), who could potentially threaten Jack Armstrong’s single-season team record of 17 losses in 1993 if his fortunes don’t improve.
Urena has suffered from a lack of run support throughout the season, and was given no runs to work with in Friday’s offensive snoozer. But he hasn’t helped himself on the mound often enough, either. On Friday, the Mets got to him for four runs on eight hits -- all singles -- when Don Mattingly decided to go to his bullpen in the sixth.
The Mets tacked on two more runs in the eighth off Javy Guerra.
Mattingly said the Marlins lack the type of impact hitters who can carry a struggling team.
“I don’t think we have those guys that are going to just take off, and you feel like you can ride their backs,” Mattingly said. “It really needs to be collective for us as a group. When we score, we score a run here, a run there, another run here. In general, I think that’s our style of offense right now.”
Mattingly also mentioned that two of the Marlins’ best hitters, J.T. Realmuto and Brian Anderson, also haven’t been hitting well of late. Realmuto snapped an 0-for-23 slump with his double in the sixth while Anderson was held hitless in three at bats and has gone 10 for 39 since the Marlins went into their 10-game tailspin.
“Those are the guys, when we were going really good, were fueling us,” Mattingly said. “They were both on base, getting their hits, extending innings. (But) It has to come from everywhere. When those two guys aren’t going, there’s not going to be a lot happening.”
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