Rogers Struggles, Marlins Comeback Falls Short 7-5 vs Brewers

Miami, Florida – May has been much more optimistic for the Miami Marlins, who have gone 9-9 in their last 18 games after their rough start to the 2024 campaign. They are winners of back-to-back series against the Detroit Tigers and New York Mets and have a chance for three series wins in a row for the first time this season. That feat would have to be accomplished against a talented Milwaukee Brewers squad. Miami took game one of the series in walk-off fashion thanks to Josh Bell‘s RBI single in the bottom of the 10th. Now, the Fish look to Trevor Rogers on the mound to lead them to another series victory.

Lead-Off Walks Hurts Rogers Outing

It looked like Rogers was turning the corner this season. He was coming off his best outing so far, throwing five shutout innings against the Tigers and earning his first win in 2024. It would have been nice to see Rogers build on that performance, but his outing today did not start on the right foot, and that set the tone for the rest of his night.

Rogers walked the game’s first batter, which became an unfortunate trend for him in today’s outing. That leadoff walk would come around to score in the next at-bat on William Contreras’ RBI double to right field. Contreras would have a productive night at the plate, going 2-4 with three runs batted in. Rogers regrouped after the double, retired Christian Yelich on a groundout, and struck out Willy Adames and Joey Ortiz.

Rogers opened the top of the second by walking Gary Sanchez. Like in the previous inning, that leadoff walk would ultimately score, this time on Blake Perkins’ RBI single. Milwaukee had Rogers on the ropes leading 2-1, but the left-hander again worked out of potential danger. After Perkins’ single, Rogers got Andruw Monasterio to ground into a fielder’s choice and struck out Contreras to end the frame.

Rogers kept the Brewers off the scoreboard in the top of the third, but it was far from a breeze. For the third straight inning. Rogers walked the leadoff hitter; this time, it was Yelich. Adames followed up the walk with a double to right field to give Milwaukee runners on second and third with no outs.

End of the Night for Rogers

With the help of his defense, Rogers pulled another Houdini act. Ortiz flew out to shallow left field for the first out of the inning. Sanchez grounded to third base, and Emmanuel Rivera made the heads-up play to throw the runner out at home instead of going to first. With runners on first and third and two outs, Rogers struck out Jackson Chourio.

Rogers’ luck ran out in the fourth. After retiring the inning’s first batter, Perkins reached base, drawing a walk. Monasterio reached base on an infield single, advancing Perkins to third. After Montaserio stole second, Contreras came through for the Brewers again. The Milwaukee catcher lined a single to left field to bring in Perkins and Montaserio and extend their lead to 4-1.

Marlins manager, Skip Schumaker, left Rogers in the game after the single to face Yelich for the lefty v.s. lefty matchup. Rogers induced a groundout for the second out of the inning, and Skip decided he saw enough from the southpaw. It was another outing where a Marlins starter did not reach the fifth inning, and Skip tapped into the bullpen that’s been used heavily in the first month and a half of the season. Miami’s bullpen was tasked with throwing 6 1/3 innings, barring extra innings.

Comeback Fever?

As mentioned, Miami is having more success in May, some of which has occurred during their last at-bats or extra innings. Five of their nine wins during this recent 9-9 stretch have come in the bottom of the ninth or extras. Miami did not wait long tonight to try to pull off a comeback. The Marlins were trailing through the first five innings of this contest, constantly playing from behind. They entered the bottom of the sixth, facing their largest deficit at 4-2.

The Marlins scored their first run tonight in the bottom of the second. Trailing 2-0, Otto Lopez singled up the middle to bring in Jazz Chisholm Jr. and cut Milwaukee’s lead in half. In the bottom of the fifth, Miami was down 4-1. Emmanuel Rivera led the inning with a double, advancing to third on Dane Myers’ single. Bryan De La Cruz was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Josh Bell.

Miami didn’t squander the bases-loaded opportunity. Bell lifted a ball to center field for the second out, and Rivera tagged up from third to score. Milwaukee was holding on to a 4-2 lead through five innings. Miami rode that momentum into the sixth when Chisholm Jr. led off the inning with a single, and Tim Anderson followed up with an infield single.

Contagious Hitting and Baserunning

Lopez was next in the order and laid down a sacrifice bunt. Chisholm Jr. and Anderson advanced into scoring position, but Chisholm Jr. caught Milwaukee sleeping. When Contreras fielded Lopez’s bunt and threw to first, Jazz rounded third and raced home because no one was covering the plate. Jazz manufactured a run with his elite speed, and Miami trailed 4-3.

Rivera kept the line moving in the lineup and tied up the ballgame, 4-4, with a single to right field. Miami continued their aggressive baserunning and perfectly executed a hit-and-run with Rivera on first and Christian Bethancourt at the plate.

With runners on first and third and only one out, Dane Myers gave Miami a 5-4 lead with a sacrifice fly to center field. Miami took their first lead thanks to timely hits, productive outs, and smart base running. Entering the late innings, Miami’s bullpen silenced Milwaukee’s offense until they reached the eighth.

Last few nights we’ve run the bases really well, a lot of stolen bases yesterday at the right time, late in the game, leverage spot, said Skip Schumaker after the game. And then today was  a really good base running day taking the extra base. Lopez bunted on his own; that was on him and executed really well. Rivera and Bethancourt right behind him, really good at bats in leverage spots. Dane Myers had good at-bats tonight, getting the ball in the outfield to make sure the runs scored, same with JB.

There’s a lot of small ball and really good baseball played and when you come back like that, it definitely hurts a little bit more when you make that comeback and then lose. But again, there’s a lot of positives that came out from tonight’s game. A loss is still a loss though I get it, but I’m proud of how they fought the last couple of nights including tonight.

Bullpen Holding up Their End… For Now

After Rogers’ short outing, this game could have easily gone out of hand and slipped away for Miami. Burch Smith was the first arm out of Miami’s bullpen and inherited a runner on second base entering the game. He was able to strand that runner and keep the deficit in striking distance, 4-2. Smith would pitch a scoreless fifth inning and hand it over to Calvin Faucher.

The 28-year-old right-hander threw a scoreless sixth inning but had to work out of some trouble. He surrendered a single to start the inning and walked Yelich with two outs. Faucher got Adames to ground into a fielder’s choice and escaped the jam with runners on first and third to keep Miami in the game.

With the new life infused into the Marlins after rallying and taking the lead in the bottom of the sixth, the next arm out of their bullpen was Anthony Bender. Skip Schumaker was impressed with Bender’s outing today after working a 1-2-3 seventh inning. This was the first of only two innings where Milwaukee was retired in order.

Bender did really good, might have been the best I’ve seen him. The slider was real, the sinker was really good tonight, said Skip Schumaker

Where does Puk Fit?

A.J. Puk is back in Miami’s bullpen after the experiment as a starter failed. In a more familiar role, Puk was asked to handle the eighth inning and hold a 5-4 lead. Immediately, Puk found himself in trouble. Jake Bauers led off the inning with a double, but Puk got Perkins to ground out and Brice Turang to fly out to shortstop.

Puk was one out away from escaping the Brewers’ scoring threat with the heart of their lineup coming up. Miami decided to walk Contreras and face Yelich to set up a lefty v.s. lefty matchup. Yelich won this round of the lefty v.s. lefty showdown and lined a triple to the right-center gap to bring in both runners. Puk’s night ended after surrendering an RBI double to Adames in the following at-bat to give Milwaukee a 7-5 lead. Emmanuel Ramirez came in to clean up and finish the eighth inning, but Adames’ double was the nail in the Marlins’ coffin.

A part of me was debating on whether or not to put Contreras on, said Skip Schumaker. But then you have an MVP on deck. So what do you do? So you had the left on that matchup, I probably prefer that over Contreras. Contreras also had a few hits tonight and was swinging the bat really good.  I made the wrong move, not that I want to see Christian Yelich at the plate with the game on the line ever, but left on left was probably a better matchup than the Contreras matchup. He just beat us tonight.

It’s not all bad news. Miami still has a chance to win this series against the Brewers if they win tomorrow in the rubber match. Things are looking in the Marlins’ favor with their ace, Jesus Luzardo, on the mound. The 26-year-old left-hander is looking to build off his best outing of the season when he threw six shutout innings against the New York Mets last Friday. First pitch is at 6:40 p.m.

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