Cameron Maybin turned on the dugout heater during batting practice so that the Marlins outfielder could warm his hands before taking his pre-game swings.
It was uncomfortably chilly for the Phillies’ home opener Thursday at Citizens Bank Park, where a brisk wind made the 46-degree game-time temperature “feel like” it was 40 and they were handing out ski caps as the giveaway.
It certainly wasn’t Caleb Smith’s kind of weather.
The Huntsville, Texas, native labored Thursday through a short, three-inning outing in which he walked six (one intentionally) and gave up three runs in a 5-0 loss to the Phillies.
“I think it was a combination of both the cold and the wind,” Smith said. “My hands were really dry, couldn’t grip on anything. I tried to lick my fingers and by the time I gripped the pitch, it [moisture] was gone.”
The Marlins’ hitters were every bit as cold. Phillies starter Nick Pivetta held them scoreless on four harmless hits over 5 2/3 innings while striking out nine.
Over the years, the Marlins haven’t fared much differently in cold-weather games than they have overall. According to Stats LLC, they’ve gone 5-6 in games played in temperatures 40 or below, and they even won their coldest game — a 29-degree bone-chiller at Chicago’s Wrigley Field in 1997.
But the blustery conditions seemed to have an effect on Smith, who couldn’t get a handle on the strike zone. Smith walked three batters in the Phillies’ two-run first inning, walked another in the second, and issued two more free passes (one of them intentionally) in the third.
He didn’t return to the mound in the fourth, with manager Don Mattingly deciding Smith’s control issues weren’t temporary. Jarlin Garcia took over, going four innings in which he allowed his first runs of the season, the result of a Maikel Franco homer.
Afterward, Mattingly hinted that Garcia could be moving into the rotation to fill the vacant spot.
The Marlins don’t play Friday as the Phillies, like most teams located in weather-challenged northern cities, have a scheduled off day following their home opener.
But they’ll return to action Saturday, where the forecast calls for a high of 42 and a possibility of snow.
A pair of off days came in the nick of time for the Marlins, who played the most innings through their first six games than any National League team has in 50 years.
“It’s not by design,” said Mattingly.
The Marlins have already played three extra-inning games. All told, they played 67 innings in their first six games, the most by a National League team since the 1968 Houston Astros and New York Mets each played 69 innings their first six games.
As a result, the Marlins bullpen has racked up big innings. That’s why Wednesday’s scheduled off day and another on Friday are coming at the right time for the Marlins.
“If you continued at this rate, it would be a huge toll,” Mattingly said. “The day off [Wednesday] kind of gets us back in order. With another off day tomorrow, we’re pretty much completely rested.”
The Marlins placed first baseman/outfielder Garrett Cooper on the 10-day disabled list with a bruised right wrist and recalled outfielder Braxton Lee.
Mattingly was hoping the swelling would subside in Cooper’s wrist, which was injured when he was hit by a pitch on March 30, to avoid placing him on the DL.
“We thought it would get out of there quick, and it didn’t,” Mattingly said.
It’s the second time Lee has been up this season.
“I told him, you’ve already been up and down twice and the minor league season hasn’t even started yet,” Mattingly said.
▪ Right-hander Elieser Hernandez is scheduled for his first rehab outing Friday with Single A Jupiter. The Rule 5 draft pick missed time in spring training after having a wisdom tooth removed.
▪ Starting pitcher Dan Straily (right forearm strain) is scheduled to throw his first bullpen session on Saturday. ... Catcher J.T. Realmuto (bruised back) will start hitting. ... Wei-Yin Chen is scheduled to throw a simulation game on Saturday.