MIAMI (AP) — The Miami Marlins weren’t acting on premonition when they traded for a reliever Sunday, though what unfolded later in the day proved how badly their bullpen needs help.
Miami looks to avoid a fourth straight defeat Monday night as it hosts a slumping Tampa Bay Rays team that will be without outfielder Wil Myers for the next few weeks.
The Marlins (28-28) sent the 39th pick in Thursday’s draft to Pittsburgh for right-hander Bryan Morris, who is 4-0 with a 3.80 ERA in 21 appearances, to help bolster a bullpen that has a 4.04 ERA.
“We just wanted to make (the bullpen) deeper,” president of baseball operations Mike Hill said. “We’ve seen a lot of (Morris).”
Hill made those comments prior to a series finale against Atlanta in which reliever Steve Cishek gave up a two-run homer in the ninth inning of a 4-2 defeat that marked the first time Miami was swept at home this season.
The bullpen has allowed at least one run in nine of the last 11 games and has been unable to support a starting rotation that has a solid 3.72 ERA.
“It was a tough series,” manager Mike Redmond said. “We have some work to do.”
Jeff Mathis started in place of catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who was put on the seven-day concussion list after being hit in the mask by a foul tip in Saturday’s loss.
The Rays (23-34) will have to make do without Myers for even longer after he was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with a sprained right wrist suffered in a collision in Saturday’s loss to Boston.
Myers is tied for second on the team with five homers and his 25 RBIs are second-most for Tampa Bay, which has dropped a season-worst six straight after a 4-0 loss Sunday.
The Rays, owners of the AL’s worst record, have scored five runs in four games.
“It’s really pretty much rooted in one component of our game – we’re just not a consistent offensive team right now,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Tampa Bay now turns to Alex Cobb (1-2, 2.93 ERA) as he makes his third start since missing six weeks with an oblique strain.
Maddon decided to push Cobb back a day for extra rest rather than throw him in Sunday’s series finale. Maddon said the decision wasn’t based on Cobb being hit in the right thigh by a line drive Tuesday, when he was tagged for six runs and nine hits in five innings of a 9-6 loss to Toronto.
“If we don’t keep our pitchers healthy, we’re not going anywhere,” Maddon told the team’s official website. “Getting Cobber back (from the disabled list) was such a boost for us. Now I think it’s wise to take care of him.”
The right-hander has won both of his starts with a 1.35 ERA against the Marlins, including striking out 10 and allowing two hits over seven innings of a 3-0 victory the last time he faced them June 17, 2012.
Miami will counter with Randy Wolf (0-1, 4.50), who made two relief appearances before giving up six runs – four earned – in five innings of a 7-1 loss to Milwaukee on May 25. It was the left-hander’s first start in the majors since June 22, 2012 while with Baltimore after Tommy John surgery forced him to miss all of last season.
“It’s a testament to how hard he’s worked to get himself back,” Redmond told the team’s official website. “His first outing was a little rough. Hopefully the second one will be lights-out.”
Tampa Bay has won five straight and 13 of the last 14 meetings with Miami.
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