Cishek doesn't wait long for redemption save

Marlins' closer holds off Mets one night after allowing game-turning homer

Cishek doesn't wait long for redemption save

MIAMI -- Marlins closer Steve Cishek usually doesn't dwell on a bad outing. But the right-hander admitted to losing some sleep after surrendering a game-changing, three-run homer to Daniel Murphy in the ninth inning on Monday.

As fate would have it, Tuesday presented a second chance for Cishek. Miami grabbed a one-run lead in the eighth inning, and this time, the 28-year-old closed out a 4-3 win over the Mets at Marlins Park.

"Last night, I had a hard time sleeping," Cishek said Tuesday night. "That one really burned me, so I had a little chip on my shoulder today."

Cishek worked around a leadoff walk in the ninth to Curtis Granderson, retiring the next three batters. A key showdown was an eight-pitch at-bat with Lucas Duda, who struck out on a 2-2 slider at the knees.

"Big, especially since Duda sees the ball really well off me," Cishek said. "We always have good battles. I'm always careful with him. Especially now -- he's swinging a hot bat."

In the first month of the season, Cishek has seen a dip in his fastball velocity. But the team has been more concerned that the closer hasn't had enough save opportunities. He's now 2-for-4.

In Monday night's 3-1 loss, Cishek surrendered the homer to Murphy on a poorly executed 89-mph sinker.

The side-armer has never possessed an overpowering fastball. But he has deception and movement on his pitches. This season, his average fastball velocity, according to Fangraphs.com, is 89.4 mph.

It's the second straight season where Cishek hasn't gotten into a consistent groove early. He is confident as the season heats up, so will the pace of his fastball.

"It was about the same around this time of year [in 2014]," Cishek said. "It took me about a month and a half to get back up, for whatever reason. My arm slot is just a tick low right now. I have faith it will come back."

Cishek's fastball velocity averaged 91.7 mph last year.

Based on his history, Cishek should get sharper the more he pitches. At 7 1/3 innings, he's been among the least used relievers on the roster. A.J. Ramos, for instance, has logged 12 2/3 innings and Bryan Morris has 9 2/3 innings. Those are the two primary right-handed setup options.

"It's really been like that for the last two years," manager Mike Redmond said. "We've got to get him in situations where we get him out there with a chance to save the ballgame, and get him pitching. That's the most important thing."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.