Miami Marlins

Two bad innings from Richards doom the Miami Marlins in series opener against the Cubs

Miami Marlins pitcher Trevor Richards in the first inning as they play the Chicago Cubs at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida, Monday, April, 15, 2019.
Miami Marlins pitcher Trevor Richards in the first inning as they play the Chicago Cubs at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida, Monday, April, 15, 2019.

The Miami Marlins were looking for a strong start from Trevor Richards on Monday night against the Chicago Cubs after using seven relievers one night earlier in their 14-inning loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.

He didn’t last five innings.

After three quality starts to open the season, Richards struggled with his command in his first and final innings, and it proved costly in the Marlins’ 7-2 loss to the Cubs to open a three-game series.

Richards’ final line: Five earned runs on five hits, four walks and two hit by pitches over a season-low 4 2/3. His ERA jumped from 2.00 to 3.57.

Richards threw 96 pitches (58 for strikes), with 62 of those pitches coming in the first and fifth innings.

And it was in those two frames where the Cubs did all of their damage on Richards. The Cubs (6-9) scored three runs in the first — all with two outs — on a Wilson Contreras bases-loaded walk that scored Kris Bryant and a David Bote two-run double to left field that scored Javier Baez and Jason Heyward.

In the fifth, Baez scored Bryant with an RBI double that dropped between Starlin Castro and Austin Dean in shallow right field. Castro tried to make the running over the head grab but couldn’t make the play. Dean’s errant throw to second allowed Baez to reach third.

Three batters later, with the bases loaded and two outs, Bote grounded to shortstop Miguel Rojas, who threw to second base trying to get Contreras on the force out. The umpires originally ruled Contreras out but overturned the play.

Baez scored, and Richards’ night was over after that.

The Cubs added another run in the seventh on a Contreras home run to AutoNation Alley in left-center field off Drew Steckenrider and closed scoring with a Contreras RBI single in the ninth off Wei-Yin Chen that scored Anthony Rizzo.

Catcher Chad Wallach, in the starting lineup for the second consecutive night, scored both runs for the Marlins (4-13). He made it home in the second on a Trevor Richard’s fielder’s choice coupled with a Baez throwing error for Miami’s first run of the night. He added a solo home run off Yu Darvish in the fourth.

The Marlins recorded just six hits and struck out 13 times.

Jackie Robinson Day

As the baseball world celebrated Jackie Robinson Day on Monday, Curtis Granderson did his part to make the day a little extra special at Marlins Park.

Through his GrandKids Foundation, Granderson hosted 42 kids from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade for Monday’s game. The group watched batting practice from the field and met with players pregame.

In attention to Granderson’s outreach, the Marlins held a pre-game panel discussion for the kids Granderson hosted and another 42 from 5000 Role Models. Marlins CEO and part-owner Derek Jeter opened the panel, which included Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill, former Marlins catcher Charles Johnson and University of Miami student and Jackie Robinson Foundation scholar Miles Pendleton. Granderson and Lewis Brinson made an appearance midway through the panel before heading out to the field.

Granderson is also auctioning off his No. 42 jersey and custom cleats from Monday’s game, with proceeds going to the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

Injury updates

Catcher Jorge Alfaro was out of the lineup for a second consecutive game while he deals with an upper body injury after awkwardly sliding back to first base on Saturday. Alfaro was scheduled for an off day on Sunday but Mattingly was optimistic Alfaro would be ready by Monday. They are monitoring Alfaro closely, especially considering he suffered two knee injuries during spring training.

Garrett Cooper, who went on the 10-day Injured List on March 31, initiated the running progression portion of his rehab on Monday and took batting practice on the field pregame. Meanwhile, pitcher Riley Ferrell, a Rule 5 draft pick who opened the year on the Injured List with bicep tendinitis, has begun his throwing progression.

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Jordan McPherson covers the Miami Marlins and high school sports for the Miami Herald. He attended the University of Florida and covered the Gators athletic program for five years before joining the Herald staff in December 2017.