The pitch looked harmless enough, a 90-mph fastball that was fouled off by the Pirates’ Starling Marte. Only there was nothing harmless about it, which became obvious to all when Dan Straily indicated a serious problem by transferring his glove to his right hand and using it to signal the Marlins dugout.
That problem, as it turned out, was a strained left oblique, ending not only the pitcher’s night, but likely his season and quite possibly his Marlins career. Straily joined Pablo Lopez as the second starting pitcher in a week to go down for the Marlins, thinning the rotation further as the end of the season draws closer.
Straily threw 73 pitches in what turned out to be a 5-3 loss for the Marlins on Friday at PNC Park. Though oblique injuries tend to heal slowly, the Marlins, as is their custom, listed Straily as “day to day.” Manager Don Mattingly said afterward that it’s too early to tell how much time Straily is expected to miss, and the pitcher said he should know more Saturday after he wakes up.
“I think it’ll be a big indication on how I feel in the morning as to what we’re really dealing with here,” Straily said. “Hopefully we caught it before it got too bad. I’m not in a lot of pain. It doesn’t hurt to breathe, a lot of the other things I’ve heard are part of it.”
Said Mattingly: “I wouldn’t think he would make his next start. We just have to wait and see how it reacts tomorrow. I hate to make a judgment that there’s no way he’s going to pitch. If he’s got a true torn oblique, everybody knows how long those take.”
Don’t look for him to throw another pitch this season and don’t be surprised if he’s traded during the coming offseason. He is making $3.375 million this year and will be due a raise in his second go-around in salary arbitration. Straily this season has gone 5-6 with a 4.12 ERA in 23 starts.
The Marlins were trailing 2-0 on Josh Bell’s home run in the second when Straily came out with two down in the fifth.
But Lewis Brinson wiped out the deficit in the sixth by putting the Marlins on top with a three-run homer off Chris Archer. Since returning from the disabled list at the start of the month, Brinson has hit in six straight games while going 11 for 21 at the plate. He had a single, double and home run in four at bats on Friday. After a difficult first few months, he is now looking every bit the player the Marlins thought they were getting when they traded Christian Yelich to Milwaukee.
“Really good to see,” Mattingly said of Brinson’s performance. “He’s got lightning hands and his lower half just needs to be solid. If he keeps his lower half in good position, he’s going to hit.”
The lead failed to last, though, when Tayron Guerrero gave up three runs in the seventh, all coming with two outs. After Kevin Kramer tied it with a RBI single, Jordan Luplow belted a two-run homer off Guerrero. Guerrero since the All-Star break has three blown saves, giving up 13 earned runs in 13 innings.
“I don’t know if he’s just run out of gas,” Mattingly said. “He’s given up some hits with two outs. These last few, he’s given up some runs with two outs. We’ll just keep an eye on him. I do want him to finish the year. I hate the thought of shutting guys down when they’re healthy. I would like him to finish the year so he knows what that feels like. But we’ll definitely be protective of him the rest of the way.”
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