Miami commits five errors over short series in Boston
By Alec Shirkey
BOSTON -- Strong defense was a top priority for then-general manager/now manager Dan Jennings when he pieced together the Miami roster this winter, and for the most part, the club has fulfilled that criteria this season.
The Marlins committed three errors in a 6-3 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park, tying a season-worst mark last reached seven days earlier, and extended their losing streak to four games as Boston completed the two-game series sweep. Just two of the 10 runs scored by the Sox in those games were earned, as the team made two errors in Tuesday's one-run defeat.
"Sloppy," Jennings said. "Really uncharacteristic of who we've been. We have to do a better job of taking care of the ball. There's no excuse for that. ... We're a better team than that, defense has been our strong point. Unacceptable tonight the way we didn't take care of the ball."
The key fielding gaffe for Miami came in the third inning, when right-hander Tom Koehler scooped up an easy comebacker and fired the throw behind first baseman Justin Bour. The mistake put men on first and second with one out. Boston went on to take an early 4-0 lead on a single, a run-scoring groundout and a two-run homer by David Ortiz, who laced a 1-1 breaking ball into the Monster seats.
"I definitely felt like I had to battle a little bit," Koehler said. "Maybe not as crisp as I have been in the past. Was able to make pitches to get through. It's unfortunate I wasn't able to make that play. It kind of led to a big inning and ultimately cost us the game."
The Red Sox tacked on one more run when Ortiz scored on a double play in the sixth following a leadoff double. Koehler settled down to finish with five runs, one earned, allowed over six innings, scattering five hits and walking two.
"He didn't have his breaking ball going early," Jennings said. "The one thing Tom is always going to do, he's going to battle. He battled for six, and that's all you can ask any starting pitcher."
The Marlins' offense kept the game competitive, cutting the lead to as little as two at one point, but the defense went on to make two more mistakes in the seventh. Reliever Sam Dyson sent his own throw to first sailing into foul territory, and catcher J.T. Realmuto launched one into the outfield while trying to catch Alejandro De Aza stealing third base.
That sequence handed Boston another insurance run and put the game out of reach.
"You make errors against good teams, it's going to come back and bite you," Koehler said.
Despite entering the contest with 35 errors through 84 games -- the second-lowest total in the Majors -- the Marlins have struggled to play clean defense of late. They have committed eight errors in the past seven games, including three against the Giants last Wednesday.
Jennings made no attempts to hide his frustration.
"We cannot give up five unearned runs," he said. "If we get beat, it's one thing. If we give it away, it's another and it leaves a bad taste."
Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.