Now it’s turning sloppy, never mind embarrassing.
The Marlins didn’t just suffer their fifth consecutive setback to one of the lousiest teams in the majors on Saturday, but they pretty much gave it away with three fielding errors in a 7-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
Saturday’s defeat followed one on Friday night in which two catastrophic fielding gaffes led directly to a Braves win. And to think that the Marlins began the season viewed as one of the better defensive teams in the majors.
They haven’t looked it in Atlanta, where the Braves had gone 2-20 this season at Turner Field before the Marlins wandered into town and they doubled their home win total in two games flat.
“This is the same game we’ve played them every game pretty much,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “We get a little lead early, and we don’t do anything the rest of the day.”
Marcell Ozuna was charged with two errors and Martin Prado committed another as the Marlins — not the Braves — looked like the team most desperate for improvement.
The Marlins jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second on consecutive RBI hits by Cole Gillespie and Adeiny Hechavarria.
Wei-Yin Chen cruised through the first three innings, holding the Braves without a hit. But he labored to get through the fourth when Gordon Beckham led off with a double and advanced to third on the first of Ozuna’s two errors when the ball got underneath his glove.
Beckham would later score and the Braves worked Chen for 39 pitches — 18 of which were foul balls. Chen thought he had struck out Freddie Freeman during his 10-pitch at-bat in the fourth on a foul tip caught by catcher J.T. Realmuto. But home-plate umpire Ben May said the ball hit the dirt.
Freeman struck out anyway. But it cost Chen some pitches.
Chen also said he probably should have wasted a pitch or two during the inning when he had hitters in the hole.
“Sometimes I probably should have thrown a ball there,” Chen said. “Instead, I still threw strikes. I allowed a lot of foul balls when the count was 0-2. So I think my control could have been better.”
Chen came out after five innings and 90 pitches, and it all fell apart quickly.
Mattingly said he removed Chen because of the arduous fourth inning and the fact that the same part of the lineup that had given him so much trouble in the fourth was coming back up in the sixth.
“When [Mattingly] told me [I was coming out], I was kind of surprised,” Chen said. “But he told me he was trying to protect me because I had a very long fourth inning. I still felt good; I was ready to go pitch the sixth inning.”
With Jose Urena on the mound in the sixth, Freeman reached on a one-out single, followed by a walk to Tyler Flowers. Nick Markakis then singled to center, and Ozuna misplayed the routine hop. The ball bounced past him, rolled to the wall, and two runs scored. Jeff Francouer capped off the three-run inning with an RBI double.
“Ozuna’s ball just kind of looked like it skipped on him,” Mattingly said. “He probably would have been better keeping it in front. But it skips by.”
It continued to go downhill from there for the Marlins.
Edwin Jackson walked the first two batters in the seventh before giving up a three-run homer to Beckham.
Ozuna extended his streak of reaching base to 35 consecutive games with his seventh-inning walk. But it was small consolation on a day gone bad for the outfielder.