Marlins Drop 2022 Citrus Series in 7-2 Loss Against Rays

Miami, Florida– The Miami Marlins were back in action Tuesday night hosting their in-state rivals, the Tampa Bay Rays. It was part two of the 2022 Citrus Series as the Rays won the first two games at Tampa. The Rays have the upper hand in the all-time series with a 74-58 record over Miami. The last time the Marlins won a season series over Tampa was in 2018.

Miami is closing out a tough homestand after losing three out of four against the Dodgers. This series opener featured a pair of young left-handers on the mound. Or so we thought. Jesus Luzardo had the start for Miami and 2022 All-Star, Shane McClanahan, for Tampa Bay.

Miami’s lineup was tailored to face McClanahan. All their hitters for today’s game were right-handed except for Joey Wendle. This was a special series for Wendle since it is the first time he is playing against his former team. Wendle spent the last four seasons with Tampa Bay before getting traded to Miami.

No Shane, No Problem

As mentioned, Shane McClanahan was named the starter for the Rays. He was scratched from his outing minutes before the first pitch. During his pregame warmups, McClanahan showed discomfort in his left arm and the Rays coaching staff did not want to take any chances on their 25-year-old phenom.

It was puzzling for fans and members of the media in the press box to see former Marlin reliever, Shawn Armstrong, take the mound for Tampa Bay. Midway through the first inning, the Rays shared the news as to why McClanahan did not start the game. He will be reevaluated on Wednesday.

The Rays were forced to have a bullpen game but that was nothing new for them. The Rays bullpen has pitched the most innings in Major League Baseball and their starters only average 4 2/3 innings per outing which ranks the lowest in the game. The last-minute pitching change could have possibly affected the Marlins’ offense, but they have been slumping mightily over the last month.

Armstrong threw three scoreless innings as the Rays opener and the bullpen followed his lead. Six Tampa Bay relievers came out of the bullpen after Armstrong and combined to throw six innings allowing only two runs. The Rays relievers seemed comfortable even with the change in game plans since they were always pitching with a lead.

“I know he was in the all-star, this guy [McClanahan] has great stuff. You get prepared for that. And then you get a different look. We should have some idea what their guys do out of the pen, but you kind of prepare your day around that guy and what you’re working on,” said Don Mattingly after the game. 

The only offense for Miami came in the seventh inning when Jerar Encarnacion doubled with two men on base. Nick Fortes singled and Wendle followed up with a double. Encarnacion drove both of them in with a double down the left-field line but the Marlins still trailed 6-2 at that point.

A Good Test for Luzardo

Jesus Luzardo was coming off back-to-back quality starts for the Marlins. He threw seven innings of 2-run ball against the Athletics in his last outing and gave up one run in 6 1/3 innings against the Dodgers the outing prior. He rode that momentum against the Rays and kept them scoreless in the first two innings.

Luzardo ran into some trouble in the third inning. He gave up a leadoff walk to Taylor Walls and Jose Siri started his amazing night at the plate with an RBI double. Yandy Diaz gave Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead when he doubled after Siri and brought him in. Luzardo worked a scoreless fourth inning, but the tandem of Siri and Diaz came through again in the fifth.

With one out in the inning, Siri reached base with a single, and Diaz doubled to give Tampa runners on second and third. Manuel Margot drove Siri in with an RBI groundout to give Tampa a 3-0 lead. Luzardo did not help himself on the mound when Randy Arozarena grounded back to him and threw it over Garrett Cooper at first base.

Diaz scored on the error and Arozarena advanced to second. He would go on to steal third with two outs and scored easily on Harold Ramirez’s single to left field. After five innings, the Rays led 5-0 but Don Mattingly let Luzardo out for one more inning. He finished on a high note retiring Tampa Bay 1-2-3 in the sixth.

It wasn’t the prettiest of starts for Luzardo but he showed that he can bounce back after tough innings. Facing playoff-caliber teams and competing against them will only benefit the young southpaw. The Marlins and Rays will face off for the final time this season tomorrow at 6:40 pm.

Photo | Karla Moreno

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