4/11/2014 10:51 P.M. ET
With few save chances, Cishek tries to stay loose
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- For more than a week, Marlins closer Steve Cishek has basically been simulating game action. He's throwing on flat ground as well as off the mound, waiting for his next opportunity.
With the Marlins riding a four-game losing streak heading into Philadelphia on Friday night, Cishek's services have not been needed.
The Marlins had a chance to give Cishek an inning in a losing effort on Friday night. The right-hander issued a walk in a scoreless, hitless eighth inning in the 6-3 loss. Cishek had last thrown on April 3 in a save against the Rockies at Marlins Park. But during the series at Washington, he continued his regular throwing routine.
"It's not the same, but I'm throwing off the mound as much as possible," Cishek said. "If you don't, in the game, you tend to lose your feel if you tend to get lazy. I just want to make sure I'm still sharp and can get the job done."
The plus side of inactivity is Cishek is completely fresh. Baseball has so many ebbs and flows to the season that a closer never knows what might be ahead. They may go a week without getting into a game, and then be used three or four games in a row.
"This year, I'm trying to increase the workload a little bit," Cishek said. "If I don't and we start rattling off some wins and I get a chance to go out there today and a chance tomorrow, I'm going to be extremely sore the next day. I'm trying to make sure my arm is in great shape, and make sure my workload stays the same."
Cishek is riding the longest active saves streak in the Majors. Counting the end of last year, he has saved 31 straight, a team record.
The streak dates back to June 8, 2013. During that stretch, Cishek has posted a 1.14 ERA with 55 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings, plus a WHIP of 0.90. Cishek also has averaged 10.38 strikeouts per nine innings.
Cishek's last blown save came at Philadelphia on June 4, 2013, when John Mayberry Jr. belted a game-tying home run off the closer in the 10th inning.
Redmond keeping options open for eighth inning
PHILADELPHIA -- Setup by committee is being used in the early part of the season as the Marlins try to figure out their best options for getting the ball to Steve Cishek in the ninth inning.
Cishek is Miami's established closer. The eighth inning has come down to one of three options. A.J. Ramos, Carlos Marmol and lefty Mike Dunn have been manager Mike Redmond's go-to hurlers.
"We're going to need all of those guys down there," Redmond said. "Those roles work themselves out over the course of time. We'll see how that plays out."
At Washington, the Marlins were slammed by the Nationals in the eighth inning on Wednesday and Thursday.
Jayson Werth belted a grand slam off Marmol with the Marlins ahead on Wednesday, and in the series finale Thursday, with Miami down two, Ian Desmond delivered his grand slam off Arquimedes Caminero.
Dunn pitched a scoreless seventh on Thursday.
"The only way it sorts itself out is by pitching guys," Redmond said. "Last year it took a little bit of time to figure out where everybody fit in. It will this year, too.
"You see from year to year things change. But we do know that Dunner and A.J. and Marmol, those guys are going to have to play a big role in those late innings. That's just how we're set up. We're going to probably have to mix and match. A.J. is not going to be able to throw every single night. Same with Dunner."
Same result in DC, but Marlins are different team
PHILADELPHIA -- What transpired at Washington earlier in the week is all too familiar for Marlins fans. After all, a year ago, Miami opened at Nationals Park and got swept in three games.
The club's first road trip this season started off against the Nationals, and again, the Marlins were swept in three games leading into their series at Philadelphia.
The Marlins did drop three straight, but according to at least one veteran who was here last season, this isn't the same club.
"Everybody in here has the ability to execute at a very high level," right-hander Kevin Slowey said. "We're excited about it. It's a very different team."
A year ago, Slowey started the second game of the regular season. Now, he's being used in a long-relief role.
The Washington series magnified the importance of executing while avoiding mistakes.
"The teams that play the cleanest games don't walk guys and don't commit errors," Slowey said. "Those are the teams that find themselves in the playoffs at the end of the year. I know we have the capacity to be that kind of team. We showed it, obviously, in the first couple of series.
"Now we've had a tough couple of games. It's nothing we haven't seen before and that we can't overcome. There is a long season ahead of us. Guys will continue to refine their games. We're in the first couple of strides of a long season."
• Fox Sports Florida on Friday announced former Marlins pitcher Carl Pavano will be joining its broadcast coverage team. Pavano, a 14-year big league veteran and a member of the Marlins' 2003 World Series title team, will be an analyst for select Marlins Live pregame and postgame shows. His TV debut will be Tuesday night when the Nationals are at Marlins Park.
• Heading into Friday night, Marcell Ozuna had 330 MLB plate appearances. None of them came in the No. 2 spot in the lineup, but that changed when Redmond put the outfielder behind leadoff hitter Christian Yelich.
Ozuna has now found himself batting in every space of the order, except for leadoff.
"Ozuna has been swinging the bats well, and he's got good numbers here," Redmond said. "Maybe he will get a few more fastballs. I'm not afraid to mix and match."