Marlins’ Pablo Lopez struggles as MLB trade deadline approaches

The Miami Marlins start shooting bowler Pablo Lopez (49) fields during the first half of a baseball game against the New York Mets at LoanDepot Park on Sunday, July 31, 2022 in Miami, Florida.

The Miami Marlins start shooting bowler Pablo Lopez (49) fields during the first half of a baseball game against the New York Mets at LoanDepot Park on Sunday, July 31, 2022 in Miami, Florida.

If Pablo Lopez made his last appearance in a Miami Marlins outfit on Sunday afternoon, it sure was a start to be forgotten.

With Lopez mentioned as a potential deal candidate if the surging Marlins trade him before Tuesday’s Major League Baseball trade deadline, the 26-year-old gave up six runs over 2 innings – his shortest run of the season – in a 9-3 loss to the Mets in Depot Park.

Although he hasn’t given up his home run, Lopez has given up 12 career successes including four additional key strokes as the Mets completed a three-game sweep with the Marlins and won for the 10th time in 14 encounters this season. Miami fell to seventh in a row at home.

“They (the Mets) got him (the Mets) really well, especially in the first round, and it seems like all year long they’ve already had spring training, they kind of got his number, they saw him really well, whatever he is,” said Marlins manager Don Mattingly. “(Trade rumors) can (affect it). These guys are human and hear rumors and kind of know what’s going on and in today’s digital world, everyone knows everything and all the rumors that are being put out there.”

While the Marlins management was non-committal on whether the club would sell before the deadline, Miami (47-55) continued to fade into the standings. After the Phillies win on Sunday, the Marlins fell to eight games below the bottom-line of the National Wild Card League.

“Once again, a deal that really helps us has to present itself,” Marlins general manager Kim Ng said Saturday. “We’re not looking to move Pablo, but as I said before, we’re listening on all fronts.”

Lopez, who is under team control during the 2024 season and has two more years of salary judging, has achieved career highs in turns (118 2/3) and strike (119). Shoulder injuries kept him out in the second half of the 2019 and 2021 seasons.

Lopez entered Sunday’s game with a hitting average of .205 against him, which was the lowest mark in his career as was 1.04 WHIP and 3.03 ERA.

But on Sunday, it was a different story as the Mets played three games in the first and three more in the third.

“This is the third time they’ve seen me this season, the sample size is getting bigger and bigger,” Lopez said. “So they are able to go back to watch previous games and see if I do things in a way that shows a pattern, and sometimes they have a good game plan. They make adjustments. Sometimes I’ll put in a bad show and they’ll make you pay for that and sometimes I’ll do a good show and they pay for that too.”

Lopez, who said after the match that he did not feel affected by any of the trade rumors in recent days, delayed the charges early, and was unable to get the change due to strikes. This allowed the Mets hitters to wait for the fast ball and inflict damage. Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil and Louis Gilroom scored a double and Tyler Naquin three times to finish third.

“I feel like I got a good fastball,” Lopez said. “My hands were on top of all pitches and I thought I was repeating my deliveries and my things were moving in the right direction, but my position wasn’t clear. They waited for the error and forced me to pay for it.”

The Marlins cut a 20-free streak in the fifth on the RBI single by Jacob Stallings. Charles LeBlanc made his home career debut at the bottom of the sixth inning with a solo 395-foot blast to the left off Taiguan Walker, cutting another long distance from the Marlins’ offensive tamper on their court. This was the Marlins’ first home run since July 5 against the Angels.

“It was a black moment. I saw something over the board and that was it,” said Le Blanc, who scored a double in the fifth.

Miami Marlins third baseman Charles LeBlanc (83) scores a solo career during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets at LoanDepot Park on Sunday, July 31, 2022 in Miami, Florida. David Santiago

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The Marlins finished their home run with a three-game streak against the Cincinnati Reds.

Miami did not name a starting player for Monday’s opening game but Jesus Luzardo, who has been at IL since mid-May, was at the club on Sunday. He threw 75 throws over 4 2/3 innings on his last rehab job with Triple A Jacksonville on Wednesday and will be on a regular break if Miami decides to go that route.

Ng hinted on Saturday that Luzardo is about to return.

Braxton Garrett and Sandy Alcantara are listed as likely starting Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

This story was originally published July 31, 2022 5:04 pm.