If it were possible to use a magic eraser on a baseball game, Ricky Nolasco might consider wiping Brian McCann from Sunday afternoon’s series finale with Atlanta.
Obviously, it isn’t possible. But even if it were, despite going three for four with a walk and five RBI, Brian McCann wasn’t the real problem for the Marlins as they faced off with the Braves at Turner Field to end their road trip.
The problem, once again, was pitching.
Ricky Nolasco went with the recent trend of Marlins starters and struggled in the first inning. He issued two walks before Brian McCann began his one-man assault of Florida with a home run that gave the Braves a 3-0 lead.
Ricky would last just 4 1/3 innings against Atalnta. He allowed four runs on eight hits and walked three before being lifted in the fifth with one out and the bases loaded. Cristhian Martinez was one bright spot in the bullpen as he entered the game to work out of Ricky’s jam and hold the Braves to four runs.
The good news for the Marlins was that Derek Lowe didn’t exactly have the most memorable afternoon on the mound himself. The pitcher went five innings and gave up five runs, including a three-run double by Catcher Ronny Paulino that put the Fish ahead 5-4 in the fourth inning.
The Marlins maintained their lead through six innings, and it was all downhill from there. Kiko Calero pitched the seventh and gave up the game-tying run, and then came the delight that was the bottom of the eighth. Calero walked Omar Infante to start the inning before Renyel Pinto came in and joined the fun with a walk to Kelly Johnson. After Chipper Jones grounded out, Brian McCann was at it again, this time with a single off of Pinto that scored two runs and gave Atlanta a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
Ricky Nolasco and the bullpen walked eight Braves Sunday, and four of McCann’s five RBI were the result of those walks. Bottom line? Brian McCann had a good afternoon at the plate, but he didn’t cost the Marlins the game. If our pitchers weren’t tossing out free passes like candy at a parade, McCann could just as easily have put a single run on the board for the Braves, rather than five.
So behind some weak starting pitching, and less-than-inspiring pitching from a few of our relievers as well, the Fish dropped their second game–and second series–in a row.
I need to look it up in my baseball manual to be sure, but I’m almost positive this isn’t how you go about winning the Wild Card.