July 3, 2010
As of this writing, Nunez has stepped up to the mound in 21 save opportunities and has blown five of those appearances (approximately a 25% failure rate). More specifically, in three of those five blown saves Nunez has given up two earned runs in a single inning of work.
There's no doubt that blame can be spread throughout the Marlins' relief pitching staff, but a faulty and unreliable closer only exacerbates the situation. It's unacceptable for any team to have their closer posting a 3.65 ERA in the month of May, 4.09 ERA in the month of June and 3.31 ERA for the season, ala Leo Nunez.
And his track record only dampens any hope of improvement for Nunez. His career ERA stands at 4.49, with the brunt of it coming from poor performances during his four-year stint with the Kansas City Royals. Already in his sixth season in the Majors, it seems as if Nunez' potential has plateaued and is a what-you-see-is-what-you-get player at this stage.
If the Marlins are tow make any moves prior to the trade deadline, their highest priority should be to acquire a closer-caliber relief pitcher. At least it would sure up one spot in an already lackluster bullpen. Perhaps then Nunez could find a niche role as a specialist reliever that appears in particular situations. At this point, such a move would bring some order to the chaos.