Eliser Hernandez toed the rubber as the Miami Marlins’ sixth starting pitcher used this season.
He threw 5.2 innings with three earned runs on five hits with seven strikeouts but a bad bullpen and cold bats spoiled the effort in a 7-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday.
“I felt really good,” Hernandez said through a translator. “I was trying to go out there, have fun and mostly help the team.”
The Cardinals attacked the bullpen with five runs in the last four innings. Jarlin Garcia was the first to come in and walked the only batter he faced. Jeff Brigham replaced him but loaded the bases and walked in a run that was tacked on to Hernandez.
“Elieser pitched really well,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “Gives us a chance and then after that we didn’t seem to get any outs.”
The last four runs the Cardinals scores came against Adam Conley in the eighth and ninth inning, including a solo home run by former Marlin Marvell Ozuna. Conley now has an ERA of 8.17 on the season.
“He has been out of sync,” Mattingly said. “And kind of the reason why we let him go tonight was we were talking about kinda changing his role for now, trying to put him more at length, middle type role to use more pitches.”
Hernandez’s appearance ends a long run of the Marlins using the same five starters throughout the season. They went with Jose Urena, Trevor Richards, Pablo Lopez, Sandy Alcantara and Caleb Smith through the first 63 games of the season, longer than any other team in baseball. As a group, they posted a 3.88 ERA, which puts them fifth in the National league behind only the Reds (3.68), Nationals (3.68), Cubs (3.67) and Dodgers (2.73). They also posted a 1.82 ERA in the last 14 home games.
“It’s been a pretty good run,” Mattingly said. “You hope that continuities on.”
Hernandez earned his next start but Wednesday will see another new Marlins starter. Pitching prospect Jordan Yamamoto was called up to take Jose Urena’s spot in the rotation and will pitch against South Florida native Miles Mikolas.