8/31/2014 12:15 A.M. ET
Miami looking to maintain focus under pressure
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- All season the Marlins have met adversity head-on, and they've done a pretty good job pushing through no matter how daunting the task.
In May, their ace, Jose Fernandez, underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery. Rather than fall apart, Henderson Alvarez took on the role of ace and made the All-Star team. Someone has always stepped up to pick up the slack.
Now, on the brink of falling completely out of the Wild Card race, the Marlins are being tested yet again. Are they running out of gas late in the season, or are they set to make another surge?
To stay in it, Miami must do a better job of executing.
"I don't think you can write us off just yet, but shut-down innings are going to be huge, and just executing across the board is what we're going to need to do to stay in this," starter Tom Koehler said.
Defensively, Miami didn't make the plays in Friday's 5-2 loss. Garrett Jones committed his 13th error of the season, the most of any first baseman in the big leagues. Center fielder Marcell Ozuna also was charged with an error, which allowed an unearned run to score in the seventh inning.
They also didn't make the necessary pitches. Twice in the innings the Marlins scored, the Braves countered in their half of the inning.
The Marlins have had their troubles in the field, posting 88 errors, which are seventh most in the Majors.
"We've just got to keep playing hard," Jones said. "We've had a lot of comeback wins, and our offense is strong, and we can score a lot of runs, and our pitching has been great. We need to stick to the plan, stay focused and don't let a couple losses deter us from our goal."
Penciled in as fifth starter, Penny to pitch Tuesday
ATLANTA -- It remains subject to change, but for now, Brad Penny is getting the nod as Miami's fifth starter.
Manager Mike Redmond made the announcement official on Saturday afternoon, noting that Penny will make the start on Tuesday against the Mets at Marlins Park.
With Penny back in the rotation, left-hander Brad Hand will go back to the bullpen.
Penny, 36, has made two starts this season, going 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA. He's also pitched twice in relief, including throwing one scoreless inning in Friday's 5-2 loss in Atlanta.
"He's done a nice job," Redmond said. "He's been in big games, big situations. He's earned it."
Before joining the Marlins in early August, Penny had not pitched in the big leagues since 2012. The veteran right-hander, who has All-Star and playoff experience, has been a bit rusty with his command. In 10 innings as a starter, he's walked seven and struck out six.
Hand has bounced back and forth from the bullpen to the rotation, going 2-6 with a 4.71 ERA. In his last start -- a loss at Colorado -- he gave up four earned runs on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.
As a starter, Hand is 2-6 with a 4.82 ERA, compared to a 4.34 ERA and no decisions in 15 appearances as a reliever.
Although Penny is getting the start on Tuesday, the team is handling the fifth spot on a per-game basis.
"We'll see," Redmond said. "I think I've been pretty consistent that we will take it one start at a time and see how Brad [Penny] does. We've kind of kept it open going from start to start at this point."
Bullpen steps up with clutch relief of Cosart
ATLANTA -- Through seven innings, Jarred Cosart was in total command. The Miami right-hander ran out of steam in the eighth.
Fortunately for Cosart and the Marlins, the bullpen was ready to pick him up.
There was no save situation in the Marlins' 4-0 win over the Braves on Saturday night at Turner Field. But A.J. Ramos and Mike Dunn came through in the eighth inning to keep Atlanta off the board and maintain a four-run lead for Steve Cishek in the ninth inning.
The eighth inning opened a bit dicey for Cosart as Tommy La Stella and B.J. Upton each singled.
"I was able to go out there and get a quick seventh," Cosart said. "I kind of wanted to carry that over to the eighth, and I think I got a little tired. But that's definitely something that can be fixed. Just run a little more."
Ramos inherited two on and no outs and struck out pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit looking. Jason Heyward's infield single loaded the bases with one out, but Ramos was able to strike out Andrelton Simmons looking.
Manager Mike Redmond went with the percentages with two outs and brought in Dunn, the lefty, to face left-handed-hitting Freddie Freeman.
It took one pitch to retire Freeman on a grounder to first.
Ramos and Dunn each were credited with holds, the 19th of the year for both.
Had Atlanta scored in the eighth inning, it would have created a possible save situation for Cishek. Instead, Cishek had a four-run lead to protect, and he struck out three around a two-out single to Chris Johnson.
The support of the bullpen enabled Cosart to improve to 3-1 with Miami since being acquired from the Astros on July 31.
Good pitching can help pick up Miami's bats
ATLANTA -- What the Marlins are experiencing this month is a case of good hitting being shut down by good pitching.
In August, Miami has scored 97 runs in 25 games, the 12th most in the National League. Overall, the production has been good, as the Marlins are sixth in the NL with 540 runs.
While the Marlins can certainly help out the pitching by improving their ability to come through in the clutch, manager Mike Redmond notes success from their own pitchers can help relieve the burden on the hitters.
"It seems like we've been getting guys on base, we just can't get that big blow to give us some breathing room," Redmond said. "We need that to take pressure off our pitching and our bullpen.
"At the same time, we're going up against good teams and good pitchers at a time of the year where they are trying to shut us down. That's why we always talk about how important pitching is when it comes to crunch time, because good pitching always finds a way to get the hitters out."