The Marlins traded for bullpen help on Thursday.
Problem for them was, it didn’t arrive in time.
Fernandez Rodney, whom the Marlins acquired in a trade with the San Diego Padres, was not scheduled to join his new team until Friday. They could have used him in their latest setback to the Braves, a 8-5 loss at Turner Field in which their early lead fizzled.
The Braves erupted for four runs in the sixth, with most of the damage coming against Mike Dunn, as they improved upon their record over the Marlins. The last-place Braves have won seven of their nine meetings. They’ve gone 20-50 against all other opponents.
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Afterward, manager Don Mattingly took the blame, saying he was frustrated with himself.
“It’s just like we’re not getting prepared somewhere properly, where I feel like I’m missing something somewhere with this,” Mattingly said. “Just got to do a better job of getting us ready to play.”
“We’re not getting them out,” he said. “We’re having trouble in different areas. You always go back to yourself and say we’ve got to prepare better. We’ve got to get ready for their hitters better. We’ve got to get ready for their pitchers better. And that comes back to me.”
The Marlins raced out to a 3-0 lead on Justin Bour’s 15th home run.
But following a 68-minute rain delay, Marlins starter Wei-Yin Chen came back out for the third and promptly gave up a pair of runs. The Marlins clung to a 3-2 lead into the sixth when Mattingly brought in Dunn for Chen after the Braves put two aboard.
Mattingly said he should have lifted Chen sooner.
“After (the rain delay), he didn’t seem to be as sharp, and really that’s where I kind of beat myself up a little bit, going back out for the sixth,” Mattingly said. “His pitch count was low, but I shouldn’t let him lose that game.”
It went south fast for the Marlins after Dunn took over.
Dunn gave up an infield single to Erick Aybar, which tied it, before pinch-hitter Brandon Snyder’s triple put the Braves on top. Chase d’Arnaud pushed the lead to 6-3 with his RBI single.
Dunn has struggled since coming off the disabled list after missing the first two months of the season with an arm injury. He now has two blown saves and a loss in 12 appearances to go along with a 6.48 ERA.
“‘Dunner,’ was fresh,” Mattingly said of his only bullpen lefty, who had not pitched since June 24. “Our right-handers are pretty much exhausted from yesterday. So we were really at a Dunn spot.”
The Marlins gave up two more runs in the loss.
But their problem wasn’t all pitching.
After stranding 24 base runners in their two-game series loss in Detroit, they left 13 more runners on base in Friday’s defeat.
Mattingly said he spoke with hitting coach Barry Bonds before Thursday’s game to see if they could come up with ways to improve in that area.
“That’s part of an area where we have to get better,” Mattingly said. “Barry and I talked about it before the game. What do we do about it. How do we attack it, we’re not quite sure. The name of the game is runs, not necessarily hits. So I think that’s where we’re falling short a little bit.”
Even the Marlins’ stellar defense wasn’t sharp. Third baseman Martin Prado’s fielding error in the ninth was the first by a Marlins infielder since May 29, ending their major league record of 28 straight games without one.