Late innings a work in progress for bullpen

Late innings a work in progress for bullpen

MIAMI -- Late-inning letdowns have plagued the Marlins' bullpen over the past 12 games.

In Friday night's 8-4 walk-off win over the Mariners, a one-run lead was erased in the seventh inning. Prior to that, there have been several crushing home runs allowed by Miami's relievers.

The bullpen has surrendered seven home runs on the season, which is tied for the third highest in the game. Only the Angels (nine) and Astros (eight) have yielded more. A year ago, the Marlins regarded their bullpen as a strength, but thus far, its collective ERA is 4.02, which ranks 18th in baseball.

"I think if you'd have asked me if I thought our bullpen would give up some home runs late in the game, I'd say, 'No way,' after how good we were last year," manager Mike Redmond said. "But I do realize they're making adjustments too. We've made some pitches they can hit, and we're in a little bit of a cycle now that we've got to work through."

Mike Dunn, A.J. Ramos and Carlos Marmol are handling much of the eighth-inning duties. Closer Steve Cishek stepped up with a perfect ninth inning on Friday in a tied game, and he collected the win.

Cishek's crisp inning gained some momentum for Miami's first walk-off win of the season.

Bullpens, like the rest of the team, go through ups and downs.

"Just like when your offense struggles," Redmond said. "You try to figure out why your offense struggles. It's the same with the pitching, the bullpen and the starters.

"Sometimes it's a group thing. Sometimes you need somebody to go out there and pitch out of a big situation, get out of a jam, and that will kind of follow through to everyone else. That's what we need."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter