JT Chargois wasn’t necessarily in the mood to talk about the individual accomplishment. About 45 minutes earlier, Chargois had closed out the Miami Marlins’ 2-0 shutout of the Los Angeles Angels, earning his first career save. Teammates celebrated in the clubhouse and some individual recognition was given to Chargois in the progress.
Chargois’s thoughts on this? He would rather talk about what Tanner Scott did before he was handed the ball. Or the overall effort from the team as it closed out a series sweep to salvage the 10-game road trip with a 5-5 record. Or the mound visit toward the end of the outing that allowed him to “get a handle on the moment” as he was about to face Mike Trout with two outs and the potential game-tying runs on base.
“I’m just glad I got the job done,” Chargois said. “I don’t even care about the save. To see really the whole weekend how everyone battled, I was just glad that I got to do something productive.”
Chargois deflecting credit fits with his personality. He’s a veteran by the standards of this Marlins team — 32 years old and in his sixth MLB season — but is humble and introspective. He’s not going to be a rah rah guy.
“I don’t necessarily see myself as some big leader on the team. I’m just JT Chargois,” Chargois said in spring training. “I pitch whatever inning. I know my role. I’m gonna always be humble. ... I’m not scared to be the low man. For the teams that I’ve been on that have been successful, [they had] a spirit of humility. Anyone was willing to fill any role for the benefit of the team.”
Chargois fit that mold on Sunday when he got those final three outs in the ninth and ultimately got Trout to pop out to second baseman Luis Arraez. His performance was key even if the path to the results didn’t reach his standards.
Two outs down. One to go.
But then he walked Zach Neto and gave up a double to Hunter Renfroe to put runners on second and third with Trout stepping up to the plate. At that point, he was one pitch away from either sealing the win or potentially giving the game away.
“I didn’t really have anything going for me,” Chargois said. I didn’t land a slider. I didn’t have fastball command.”
But he found himself again as he faced Trout. And on the fifth pitch, the Angels’ superstar got under a middle-in sinker for the game-ending popout.
“Would have not liked Trout up in that situation if I could do it all over again,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said, “but he made a pitch when he had to and we won the game.”
Chargois, who the Marlins acquired this offseason along with utility player Xavier Edwards in a November trade with the Rays, has shown a knack for making key pitches when he needs to early this season. He threw 4 1/3 perfect innings over his first five appearances before being sidelined for a little more than a month by a right oblique strain. In six appearances since, he has giving up runs just twice.
“He’s got an insane sinker,” said Scott, who struck out three over 1 1/3 innings to get the Marlins to the ninth inning. “It has a lot of movement and then his slider is just a wipeout. He’s got great stuff.”
And the Marlins needed that great stuff from him in the ninth inning Sunday because of the status of the bullpen at the end of a 10-game road trip — and stretch of 13 games overall — without an off day.
Dylan Floro was unavailable after pitching three consecutive days. Bryan Hoeing, who had gone four consecutive days, was down too. Schumaker had already used four other relievers — Steven Okert, Matt Barnes, Andrew Nardi and Scott — in the game, which left Chargois and Huascar Brazoban for the ninth inning.
Overall on the road trip, Nardi pitched in six games, Scott five (including three consecutive games), Okert five (including two sets of back-to-backs), Chargois five, Floro four (including three consecutive games), Barnes four, Hoeing four (all on consecutive days) and Brazoban three. Most of those innings were high-leverage situations as well.
“We needed all kinds of people to step up,” Schumaker said.
Chargois added: “Everybody just knows what they do well and stays with their plan and executes it. It’s just chasing Strike 1, getting ahead, getting good counts. Everybody does that in their own unique way.”