Miami Marlins

Marlins bullpen implodes in epic meltdown in brutal loss to Red Sox

Miami Marlins left fielder Austin Dean walks back to his position during an 11-run seventh inning by the Boston Red Sox during a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Miami Marlins left fielder Austin Dean walks back to his position during an 11-run seventh inning by the Boston Red Sox during a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) AP

There was a time not long ago when the bullpen for the Marlins wasn’t half bad.

On Wednesday, it was brutally bad.

In one of the single-worst innings in Marlins history, a bloodbath of a seventh at Fenway Park in which the Red Sox sent 15 men to the plate, four Marlins relievers combined to allow 11 runs on 12 hits, turning what was a 5-3 Marlins lead into an eventual 14-6 loss.

“The skies opened,” said manager Don Mattingly. “I don’t know if I can explain that inning.”

It was the second-most runs ever surrendered by the Marlins in a single inning, falling three runs shy of the mark set here on June 27, 2003, when the Marlins gave up 14 runs to the Red Sox in the first inning. That Marlins team went on to win the World Series. This last-place Marlins team just needs the season to end.

Quickly.

The Red Sox on Wednesday polished off a four-game series sweep of the Marlins in grand style, erupting in a big seventh inning that had the Fenway faithful in a frenzy.

Four Marlins relievers -- Drew Rucinski, Adam Conley, Drew Steckenrider and Javy Guerra -- endured the worst single-inning beating any Marlins bullpen ever has. The dozen hits the four pitchers allowed fell one hit short of the Marlins’ single-inning record of 13, which also occurred in the ‘03 game against the Red Sox.

“I’m not quite sure how to explain it,” Mattingly said. “It’s one of those nights where nothing worked. It’s one of those nights where we couldn’t stop them, really. They’ve got one of these clubs where it seems like they rattle off runs quick.”

All of it came after Marlins starter Trevor Richards had turned in a decent outing and the Red Sox lost their starter, David Price, to an injury when he was struck in his left, throwing wrist by an Austin Dean line drive in the third.

But the Marlins’ two-run lead disintegrated in a flash and only an inning-ending double play ground ball prevented their nightmare of a seventh inning from turning out even worse.

“They got their pitches they didn’t miss,” Guerra said. “That’s why they’re a first-place team overall. We just didn’t get it done. That’s our fault.”

Said Conley: “For me, it happened pretty quick. That’s a good hitting lineup.”

The second half has been a disaster for the Marlins’ bullpen. Wednesday’s meltdown came one day after Tayron Guerrero came in from the bullpen and blew an eighth-inning lead by giving up three runs in an 8-7 loss.

“Both games in this series it seemed like where we got to a point where we weren’t able to stop them,” Mattingly said. “And that’s really what happened tonight. It’s not a game that was out of hand early. Both games here were games we had chances to win, end games. We just weren’t able to finish them off.”

The Marlins’ bullpen posted a 4.82 ERA prior to the All-Star break. Their ERA since the break: 5.82, a figure that does not include Wednesday’s flameout.

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