MIAMI -- The Marlins are aggressive swingers, and that tendency proved costly in Tuesday night's 6-4 loss to the Braves.
Miami got to Atlanta starter Julio Teheran early, tagging the 22-year-old for four runs, with one earned, on 51 pitches through only three innings. The Marlins led 4-3 with the Braves' starter in danger of not pitching deep into the game.
However, the short at-bats started coming in the second and began piling up in the third. Beginning with Adeiny Hechavarria's two-out single in the third, 19 of Miami's next 25 batters had at-bats of three pitches or fewer.
"We need to do a better job of getting ourselves deeper into counts," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "It seems like we'll burn that pitcher out a little bit in the first three innings. Then, as we get towards the middle, we'll have back-to-back first-pitch swings and soft outs. We can't do that."
After throwing 51 pitches in his first three innings, Teheran needed only 44 to get through the final 4 1/3 frames of his outing.
Only two Marlins swung at the first pitch during the team's first run through the batting order. But beginning in the third, 12 more batters hacked at Teheran's first pitch.
The Marlins' first-pitch swing percentage of 48 from the third inning on dwarfed the league average of 29 percent. Although Miami has four qualified players swinging at more first pitches than the league average, it falls below the MLB average as a team.
Additionally, the Marlins' 3.73 pitches per plate appearance is only slightly lower than the MLB average of 3.79, but only four qualified Miami players eclipse that mark individually.
A first-pitch swing percentage of 27 is likely the result of a 30-game stretch from May 31 to July 4 that saw the Marlins post the best record in the Majors at 19-11. Redmond feels the team has lost some patience at the plate during its current five-game skid.
A dip in patience at the plate cost Miami on Tuesday night, and Redmond believes working counts is one of the key ways in which the Marlins will return to the level of play they enjoyed during June.
"When we're going good, we're really grinding out at-bats and getting deep into counts," Redmond said. "When you start losing some ballgames, guys start feeling like, 'Hey, I've got to pick up the slack. I've got to get the big hit. I've got to get on base.' And you start getting out of your game plan a little bit."