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You can only muster up but so much enthusiasm.
I promised I would not speak ill of a Marlin, but at some point speaking the truth and speaking ill become indistinguishable from each other, and you have to choose.
Keeping Leo Nunez as the closer on the Marlins used to be a leap of faith. It is now a lapse of reason.
For the good of the team, and for the sanity of the fans, it’s time to put an end to this charade. It’s one thing to have a bad outing. But when you are consistently and reliably giving up two or three runs in the ninth inning, you’re not a closer. You’re a ringer for the other team.
It is not fair to Ricky Nolasco, who put in a passable start and was in line for the win.
It is not fair to the Marlins offense, which for once supported a marginal start by performing the astonishing task of, for most of the game anyway, scoring more runs than the other team.
It is not fair to the set-up guys in the bullpen whose only job was to preserve the lead long enough for the closer to come in and wrap things up.
And it sure as heck is not fair to the fans, who should be cheering and rooting for the closer, not dreading his appearance.
No one’s perfect. No one is asking Leo Nunez to be perfect. We’re just suggesting that maybe a pitcher who routinely gives up two or three runs per inning should not routinely be brought in to pitch an inning when our team is only leading by two or three runs.
I believed in Leo Nunez. In the leap of faith required to root for him as a closer, no one was leaping higher or cheering louder than Mr. Dimples. I’m not cheering anymore. At the beginning of this season, Marlins fans dreaded Javy Vazquez’ plate appearances and celebrated Leo Nunez with an optimism born not of performance, but of outcomes. “He got lucky,” some said. I wanted them to be wrong, but Leo proved they were not.
Javy, meanwhile, has done as well as anyone could have hoped. He’s not setting any records, but at least when he comes on, hope outweighs fear. Not so with Leo.
The best thing that happened to Leo Nunez last year was when they took the closer role away from him. He’s earned that treatment again. I believed in Leo Nunez. I don’t anymore. Get him off the mound.