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May 4, 2024 8:11 am

Marlins face A’s, reality of going on without Luis Arraez

marlins arraez dugout

Life without Luis Arraez is expected to become permanent Saturday afternoon for Miami when the visiting Marlins get a rematch with the Oakland Athletics.

Arraez was a late scratch from the lineup in Friday’s series opener, with a reported trade to the San Diego Padres pending. But because the deal was not official, the defending National League batting champion was able to remain in the Miami dugout in full uniform as the Marlins lost 3-1.

Had he been available off the bench, no doubt Miami manager Skip Schumaker would have used him in the eighth or ninth innings as the Marlins attempted to rally from a 3-0 deficit. They stranded the bases loaded without scoring in the eighth, then brought the potential tying run to the plate in the ninth after scoring on a Vidal Brujan double.

The loss was the Marlins’ first after three straight wins over the Colorado Rockies to end a seven-game homestand during which four consecutive losses had dropped the team to an NL-worst 6-24 before the winning streak.

Batting leadoff, Arraez had two doubles, two singles and two RBIs in the three wins, boarding the flight to Oakland with a team-best .299 average.

After tearing up Friday’s lineup card shortly before game time, Schumaker inserted Dane Myers into the leadoff spot and called upon Otto Lopez, batting seventh, to take over at second base for Arraez. Myers got aboard twice via a single and a walk in four plate appearances, while Lopez left for a pinch hitter after going 0-for-2.

Schumaker called it “human nature” that his team would have an emotional letdown when informed at the last minute of a trade, but said he hoped the weekend will be different.

“The initial shock factor is definitely real,” he said. “We’ll see if it goes away in a couple of days or (Saturday), because we’re paid to win games and be professional. But when a guy like that is potentially traded, you feel it.”

Hoping for more offensive support on Saturday, but having gotten little this season even with Arraez in the lineup, will be left-hander Trevor Rogers (0-4, 4.31 ERA), who has seen his teammates score a total of five runs in his past five starts.

The 26-year-old has never faced the A’s. In fact, he’s only made two career starts in California — a pair of 3-2 losses at San Francisco and at San Diego in 2022.

Rogers is scheduled to go head-to-head with A’s right-hander Paul Blackburn (2-1, 3.34 ERA), who hasn’t fared nearly as well in his last three starts as he did in a brilliant opening to the season, when he threw 19 1/3 innings of shutout ball. However, he’s been roughed up for 13 runs and 18 hits in his past three outings.

The 30-year-old has faced the Marlins just once in his career, last June in Miami, when he allowed five runs in five innings in a 7-5 loss. He did not get a decision in a game in which he served up a three-run home run to Garrett Cooper.

A season-best five-game winning streak has put the A’s (16-17) within one game of .500 for the first time since Opening Day, but Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said nobody on his team is looking at the standings.

“We’re not getting wrapped up in the overall record,” he said. “We’re just going out to prepare to win each game. That’s the focus of the team — preparation every day just to get better.”

–Field Level Media

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