The Florida Marlins are limping their way through the final week of the season.
After being eliminated from playoff contention, the Marlins look to snap their longest losing streak of the season as they wrap up their three-game series with the Washington Nationals at Dolphins Stadium.
The Nationals pounded the Marlins 11-1 on Tuesday, sending Florida to its fifth straight loss and 11th in 13 games since Sept. 14, when they held a one-game lead in the wild-card race. Cy Young Award candidate Dontrelle Willis gave up a career-high nine runs—five earned—and the Marlins were mathematically eliminated from the wild-card race.
“It’s unfortunate, because I think as a team we’ve underachieved,” Willis said.
Florida, which committed three errors behind Willis, fell into a tie with Washington for last place in the NL East.
“It’s tough when your hopes and expectations are high and it doesn’t happen,” manager Jack McKeon said.
The loss came one day after McKeon, who led the Marlins to a 2003 World Series title, hinted that he might not return next season and benched slugger Miguel Cabrera for arriving at the stadium late. Starter A.J. Burnett was also sent home for the season before Monday’s game one day after he said that the Marlins play scared because McKeon and his staff are too negative.
Burnett’s contract expires this week, and general manager Larry Beinfest said the Marlins won’t attempt to re-sign him. Burnett apologized for his comments on Tuesday.
“I have always been a very passionate player and person,” Burnett said in a statement released by agent Darek Braunecker. “I often wear my emotions on my sleeve, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. I hope that my teammates always respect that of me, as I trust they know my commitment to winning.
“For those I’ve offended, I offer my most sincere apologies.”
Marlon Byrd homered, scored four times and tied a career high with four hits for the Nationals, who earned their most lopsided win of the season. Washington has won the first two games of this series after being swept in three games by the New York Mets over the weekend.